It is far cheaper to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power generation by using a mix of renewables, energy saving and combined heat and power than by building more nuclear plant. This is the conclusion of a study by Germany's Öko-Institute in Freiburg. While replacing hard coal fired generation capacity with nuclear capacity costs DEM 15-20/tonne of CO2, a mix of alternatives can do the same job for only DEM 5/tonne of CO2. In other words, by investing in a nuclear power station three to four times more CO2 is emitted than if the money had been spent on climate-friendly alternatives. The report also puts paid to the theory that nuclear power emits no CO2. It quotes a range of studies carried out in various countries, including the USA, UK and Japan, which conclude that a cradle to grave study of nuclear power generation, from uranium mining to nuclear power station construction and operation, CO2 emissions range between 30 and 160 grams of CO2 per kWh generated. Although this is not a substantial amount of pollution compared with say brown coal fired generation at around 1150 grams per kWh, the emissions from nuclear power are double those of wind energy in a similar cradle-to-grave assessment.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol