11 May 2016
As carbon-intensive fossil fuels have become cheaper, would nuclear power continue to be relevant? Nuclear power can help countries in their diversification from fossil fuels. But public concerns over post-Fukushima nuclear safety continue to haunt the global nuclear industry.
The global prices of fossil fuels – oil, gas and coal – have been steadily declining for months and the world is awash with cheaper fossil fuels. Meanwhile, there is renewed interest in investing in nuclear power projects. According to the World Nuclear Association, of a total of the US$1.2 trillion that could be invested in new nuclear power projects worldwide by 2030, half will be made in Asia. While in Europe, potential nuclear investments will amount to only US$179 billion due to the scarcity of new nuclear projects there. What would then be the relevance of nuclear power amidst plummeting fossil fuel prices?
Oil is primarily used in transport, while nuclear power is used to generate electricity. These are still two separate sectors. So the direct impact of the low oil price on nuclear energy would be limited. However, other cheap fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal may have direct impact on nuclear power as these are among the main sources of electricity generation.
… Julius Cesar I. Trajano is Associate Research Fellow with the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS Centre) at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
NTS Centre / Online
Last updated on 12/05/2016