IEA’s Tanaka Says Carbon Cuts Will Be More Costly Without Nuclear Energy
Increased public fear about nuclear energy following an accident at a Japanese reactor could make cutting carbon emissions more expensive, according to International Energy Agency Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka.
“Public fear not only in Japan but in other parts of the world is rising,” Tanaka said today at a press conference in Paris. He said the impact of the battle by Japanese nuclear workers to gain control over the Fukushima Dai-Ichi atomic plant is “worrisome.”
“This may have a negative impact on the further development of nuclear power,” he said.
The IEA, which advises 28 nations on energy policy, in November projected the world will add 360 gigawatts of new nuclear generating capacity to the existing 390 gigawatts by 2035. Since the accident at Fukushima, the agency has modeled the possible consequences of a halving of that new build, IEA chief economist Fatih Birol said in a March 30 interview.
“A low nuclear power scenario is much more costly,” Tanaka said today of reaching a goal agreed by 193 nations at United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009 and Cancun in 2010 to try to contain global warming. “If nuclear power is available only at lower ends of projections, costs of low-carbon technology will be higher.”
Since the accident at Fukushima, caused by a March 11 earthquake and tsunami, China has cut a target for raising nuclear power capacity by 2020, Italy has imposed a one-year moratorium on atomic projects and Germany has temporarily halted its oldest reactors.
“We want more patience from the public until the cause of the accident is known,” Tanaka said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Tara Patel in Paris at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org