Nuclear power is carbon-free. Should it play a bigger role in every country's green energy plan?
Why use nuclear power?
To prevent catastrophic climate change, scientists say, we have to dramatically reduce the use of fossil fuels. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that more extreme droughts, floods, wildfires, and storms will occur if world carbon dioxide emissions do not drop by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030 and get to zero by 2050. Replacing coal- and oil-burning power plants with renewable sources such as wind, solar, and hydroelectric power is crucial to that goal, but renewables alone won't be enough to meet the world's energy needs, particularly in rapidly developing countries like China and India, where the demand for electricity is soaring. That's why some energy experts argue that only by keeping existing nuclear plants open and building dozens of new ones can countries reduce their emissions fast enough.