The Long Goodbye to the Nuclear Monument

  • Paul DorfmanEmail author


With mounting recognition over the speed and pace of the low carbon energy transition needed to mitigate climate change, nuclear has been reframed as a response to the threat of global heating. However, at the heart of this assumption are differing views on how to apply foresight, precaution and responsibility in the context of the relative economics of nuclear, the uncertain role of nuclear in combating climate change, the possibility of catastrophic accidents, the consequences of those accidents, and whether there exists a place for nuclear within the swiftly expanding renewable economy. This is because, in the journey to manage the decline of fossil fuels, not all low carbon technologies may prove equally viable. Indeed, nuclear seems far less benign, far more expensive, and more carbon intensive than other options. Hence, nuclear will struggle to compete with the technological, economic and security advances and advantages of the coming renewable evolution. So, in bidding a long goodbye to coal, we may also be bidding adieu to nuclear, and given the associated ramping costs and risks that cling to that quintessentially late twentieth century technology, perhaps not before time.


Nuclear Risk Climate Low carbon Energy transition 


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UCL Energy InstituteUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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