Nuclear power will be limited, says Gore


Nuclear power will only play a limited role in the world’s energy future because of its “absurdly high” cost, Al Gore said on Thursday.

Despite several countries, including the US, UK and China, pushing forward with plans for new nuclear reactors, the former US vice-president said the economics of nuclear power meant that it was unlikely to play a major role.

“It will play a role, but probably a limited role. I think the waste issue can probably be solved and, Fukushima notwithstanding, the safety of operation issue can probably be solved. But the cost is absurdly high and still rising,” he wrote during a question-and-answer session on Reddit to promote his 24-hour Climate Reality webcast on fossil fuels and extreme weather.

Mr Gore’s comments seem to suggest he has changed his mind on how attractive nuclear is – in 2009, he said he saw it playing “a somewhat larger role” in the energy mix because of climate change and efforts to cut carbon emissions.

“I’m not a reflexive opponent of nuclear. I used to be enthusiastic about it, but I’m now sceptical about it,” he said at the time.

In the Reddit conversation, he said that while nuclear was expensive, renewable energy technologies were fast becoming cheaper.

“Meanwhile, solar PV [photovoltaics] is riding a . . . cost-down curve. Wind and efficiency too, though not as steep. We need to get to scale on renewables quickly and make the transition.”

– (Guardian service)