“three of the world’s largest economies—China, Germany, Japan… now all generate more electricity from non-hydro renewables than from nuclear.”
And also have a larger per capita carbon footprint than significantly-nuclear France.
“Global generation from solar was up 38 percent, and wind power increased over 10 percent. In contrast, nuclear power generation was up just 2.2 percent.”
And how much of that wind and solar was backed up by fossil? After all, reducing fossil was presumably the point of this exercise. And over the same period, global oil increased 0.8% and coal and gas both increased 0.4 percent–which, because of their much larger share to begin with, means new fossil fuel consumption outstripped new renewable and new nuclear generation combined. Our current trajectory is on track for continued growth in fossil fuels through 2030. If that’s going to change, we need something better than what we have now. That, or we need a global revolution in culture, politics, economics, etc. the likes of which we haven’t seen since… ever.
“Beyond Nuclear, an organization that advocates for a safe, democratic energy future, said the report belies claims of a “nuclear renaissance.””
The countries that have led in nuclear are not entering another major build phase at this time. In that respect, there is no nuclear renaissance. Most of the new nuclear is going to be in countries which have had little to none, so it won’t be a “renaissance” to them. But globally, build orders and new build plans are on the rise. And the real renaissance is taking place in nuclear research–which is currently seeing intense and diverse activity after a long dormancy.
“demonstrating beyond the shadow of a doubt that renewable energy and energy efficiency are a far sounder investment and a much safer choice.”
One of the leaders in investments in nuclear research, reactor manufacturing development, and new reactor builds is China. They seem to think it is a worthwhile investment, even though they also happen to be world leaders in cheap solar and wind power production. Either they don’t know what they are doing, or they are aware of larger and longer-term factors which have been missed by people like Mycle Schneider.
"The impressively resilient hopes that many people still have of a global nuclear renaissance are being trumped by a real‐time revolution in efficiency‐plus‐renewables‐plus‐storage, delivering more and more solutions on the ground every year. Porritt writes that the report “remorselessly lays bare the gap between the promise of innovation in the nuclear industry and its delivered results.”
There are dozens of advanced nuclear research projects underway at this time. That wouldn’t be happening if there weren’t broad recognition that the sort of old-tech nuclear power we have now has major problems and challenges. To everyone who understands that, a report that says old-tech nuclear power has major problems and challenges is hardly going to come as a revelation. It will dash the hopes of exactly zero of the researchers looking to replace old-tech nuclear, it will convince zero of them to hang up their lab coats and do something else, and if it has any effect at all, it will only serve as confirmation that a new path is needed.
"He concludes: “The static, top‐heavy, monstrously expensive world of nuclear power has less and less to deploy against today’s increasingly agile, dynamic, cost‐effective alternatives. The sole remaining issue is that not everyone sees it that way—as yet.”
I’m pretty sure that’s not the sole remaining issue. Smoothing out sporadic production remains a big one. And I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for everyone to come around to seeing nuclear power this way. I’ve seen support for advanced nuclear research grow, and I’ve heard of and from many former anti-nuke converts, but I have yet to hear of a single former supporter of advanced nuclear research who now opposes it. And reports like this one are very unlikely to change anyone’s mind.