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New Report Shatters Myth of 'Nuclear Renaissance'

The report 'demonstrates beyond the shadow of a doubt that renewable energy and energy efficiency are a far sounder investment and a much safer choice,' said Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear.

A solar park in the UK. (Photo: RTPeat/flickr/cc)

If renewable energy advocates need more evidence that solar and wind are better investments than nuclear power, a new report may offer just that.

The findings come from the newly released World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2015, which looks at global nuclear developments over the past year.

Marking a first in five decades, Japan went without nuclear power for an entire year, the report states. And three of the world’s largest economies—China, Germany, Japan—as well as Brazil, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Spain, now all generate more electricity from non-hydro renewables than from nuclear.

In the UK, renewable energy, including hydropower, provided more electricity output than nuclear in 2014.

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.

Further, global investments in renewable were far higher than those in the nuclear power sector.

Beyond Nuclear, an organization that advocates for a safe, democratic energy future, said the report belies claims of a "nuclear renaissance."

"This is a valuable study which each year separates empirical fact from nuclear industry fantasy," said Kevin Kamps, a spokesperson for the organization. "It exposes the incredible uncertainties attached to a nuclear energy economy while demonstrating beyond the shadow of a doubt that renewable energy and energy efficiency are a far sounder investment and a much safer choice."

Jonathon Porritt, co-founder and trustee of Forum for the Future and former chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commission, echoes that sentiment in the forward to the report: "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."

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."

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