Does deep de-carbonization require nuclear power?

By | January 9, 2017

Nuclear power advocates maintain that nuclear power is essential to a low-carbon future because it emits no carbon dioxide and provides large amounts of baseload electrical generation. However, critics point to nuclear power’s costs and accident and proliferation risks as continuing drawbacks to large-scale nuclear reactor construction.

With this important policy discussion in mind, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is pleased to announce several new and important contributions to advance the debate:

A brand-new interactive has been launched on the Bulletin’s website: World Nuclear Power Reactor Construction 1951–2017. Built in partnership with the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, Visioncarto, and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, this interactive enables users to find out about status and developments in nuclear power plant building, new and abandoned constructions, and reactor startups and shutdowns on a global scale through more than 60 years of nuclear industry history.

The January/February issue of the subscription journal focuses upon the question of whether nuclear power should be a major part of the world’s response to global warming. This special issue was also supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and the issue is entirely free-access for one week.

In addition, the Bulletin devoted its 2016 Clock Symposium to the question of what role nuclear power can and should play in achieving the deep de-carbonization required to halt global warming. You can read the report on the Bulletin’s website.

Start the New Year with a commitment to help the world get serious about de-carbonization. Read the new issue while it’s free-access, explore World Nuclear Power Reactor Construction, 1951 to 2017, and read the report from the Clock Symposium on nuclear power.

Special issue: Should nuclear power be a major part of the world’s response to climate change

Introduction: Nuclear power and the urgent threat of climate change
John Mecklin

What role could nuclear power play in limiting climate change?
Robert Rosner and Alex Hearn

Kerry Emanuel: A climate scientist for nuclear energy
Dawn Stover

Wasting time: Subsidies, operating reactors, and melting ice
Peter A. Bradford

The incredible shrinking nuclear offset to climate change
Sharon Squassoni

Can North America’s advanced nuclear reactor companies help save the planet?
Elizabeth Eaves

Safety first: The future of nuclear energy outside the United States
Michael M. May
The case for American nuclear leadership
Daniel B. Poneman

Nuclear Notebook: United States Nuclear Forces, 2017
Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris

GLOBAL FORUM: Managing Nuclear Risk in South Asia
A pair of fierce and nuclear-armed rivals face off across a contested border, and near-term prospects for nuclear disarmament appear extremely dim – no wonder South Asia has sometimes been called the world’s most dangerous place. In this Global Forum, authors from India, Pakistan, and the United States assess how India and Pakistan can manage nuclear risk so that danger does not become catastrophe.

Editor’s note
Lucien Crowder

An Indian response
Jayita Sarkar

A Pakistani response
Rabia Akhtar

A US response
Mario E. Carranza

The World Nuclear Power Reactor Construction interactive visualization was developed by World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR) and Visionscarto for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

The Clock Symposium would not have been possible without the generous contributions of many supporters. The final agenda and list of participants can be found at the end of the report.

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