November 10 2020

New Published Article: "Reactor ageing and phase-out policies: global and regional prospects for nuclear power generation"

Nowadays, nuclear is still a key player in the power generation sector, accounting for 10% of the overall electricity generation globally and 27% in the European Union. However, actual prospects for this technology are awkward. In the OECD area, many countries have revised their development plans after the incident at the Fukushima power plant in 2011 and at the same time a considerable number of reactors are approaching the end of their operational lifetime. On the other hand, nuclear is characterized by high momentum and ambitious expansion plans in the non-OECD area.

In this context, the main objective of this paper is to investigate the actual prospects of nuclear and their consequent impacts on the electricity mix and the policy costs, taking into consideration relevant aspects such as the policies implemented by countries and the reactor ageing.

In brief, scenarios show that if nuclear expansion is constrained, it is mostly compensated by wind and solar PV. The costs related to nuclear phase-out are mostly compensated by the innovation benefits related to renewables and to the energy efficiency of the overall energy sector. Phase-out policies restricted to the OECD countries yield minimal cost changes.

This paper has been developed in the context of the MERCURY project – Modeling the European power sector evolution: low-carbon generation technologies (renewables, CCS, nuclear), the electric infrastructure and their role in the EU leadership in climate policy, funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellowship scheme of the European Commission (project no. 706330). The project has been carried out by Samuel Carrara at the University of California, Berkeley (Outgoing Host) and at Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (Beneficiary and Return Host).

See the webpage of the paper
See the webpage of the MERCURY Project

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