• 4 minutes "Natural Gas Trading Picks Up Considerably Amid High Volatility" by Charles Kennedy - ...And is U.S. NatGas Futures dramatically overbought at the $6.35 range?
  • 8 minutes How Far Have We Really Gotten With Alternative Energy
  • 12 minutes  What Russia has reached over three months diplomatic and military pressure on West ?
  • 1 day Revisiting: "The U.S. Grid Isn’t Ready For A Major Shift To Renewables" from March 2021 by Irina Slav at OILPRICE
  • 4 days How cheap Chinese tires might explain Russia's 'stalled' 40-mile-long military convoy in Ukraine
  • 10 hours Failure To Implement Russian Oil Ban Could Send Oil Crashing To $65
  • 2 days Natural Gas is the Cleanest and most Likely Source of Energy to Fuel the World.
  • 8 days Will Variants and Ill-Health Continue to Plague Economic Outlooks?
  • 8 days "Russia will stop 'in a moment' if Ukraine meets terms - Kremlin" by Reuters via Yahoo News...but Reuters suddenly cut out the balanced part of the story.
Aramco Overtaking Apple Proves Investors Still Love Oil

Aramco Overtaking Apple Proves Investors Still Love Oil

Saudi Aramco has dethroned Apple…

America's Electric Grid Has A $2 Trillion Problem

America's Electric Grid Has A $2 Trillion Problem

Researchers from several U.S. universities…

Russian Oil Production Falls Almost 9% In April Amid Ukraine War

Russian Oil Production Falls Almost 9% In April Amid Ukraine War

Russia’s crude oil production plunged…

Charles Kennedy

Charles Kennedy

Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com

More Info

Premium Content

Is Nuclear Energy Making A Pandemic Comeback?

For decades, the nuclear energy sector has been regarded as the black sheep of the alternative energy market, thanks to a series of high-profile disasters such as Chernobyl, Fukushima and Three Miles Island accidents. But recently, the sector has received the backing of the Trump administration which has sought a $1.5B bailout of America’s flagging uranium industry in a bid to create sufficient federal stockpiles for national security purposes.

Trump isn’t its only friend of late, though. Nuclear power has also been receiving fresh endorsement from an unexpected source: the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ongoing energy crisis has been helping to highlight nuclear energy’s billing as the most reliable energy source, which ostensibly gives it a serious edge over other renewable energy sources such as wind and solar which exist at the lower end of the reliability spectrum.

Notably, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, has backed the UK’s Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) call for massive nuclear investments by saying that comprehensive investment in the nuclear industry will be necessary to kick-start the UK’s post-pandemic economy, while also fulfilling the EU’s goal to decarbonize all its industries by 2050. 

Last year, EU leaders recognized nuclear energy as a way to fight climate change but have mainly touted a hydrogen economy in their latest topline targets.

Source: Energy.gov

Supply Chain Disruptions

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), nuclear power generation has the highest capacity factor of any energy source at 93.5%. What this means in layman’s language is that a typical nuclear plant provides a highly stable and predictable flow of electricity with nuclear reactors requiring less maintenance and taking 12-18 months between refueling. Related: Renewable Energy Is Seizing Market Share During The Pandemic

This gives nuclear plants a distinct advantage over renewable energy sources which have been experiencing supply chain disruptions due to factory shutdowns during the ongoing pandemic. EIA estimates that nuclear power plants have a capacity factor 2.5x higher than wind energy and nearly 4x that by solar PV plants.

As the World Nuclear Association has noted, there has been no enforced shutdown of any of the world’s 440 nuclear plants either due to workforce or supply chain disruptions since Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic though plants have been idling capacity due to low power demand.

Renewables are the Future

The EIA points at another advantage: the average nuclear power plant generating 1GW would need 4GW of solar power capacity to fully replace it as a power source.

The implication here is that it would be cheaper to build new nuclear plants than attempt to replace them with wind and solar power. This assumption, however, might have rang true a decade ago but is no longer valid because the cost of renewable energy has been coming down dramatically. Since 2009, solar PV module prices have fallen by ~80% while those by wind turbines have declined 30–40%.

In fact, looking at the localized cost of electricity generation, or LCOE , of different energy sources, onshore wind and utility-scale solar currently are the cheapest sources of electricity. LCOE is a metric that takes capacity factors into consideration.

Nuclear energy has its inherent strengths, reliability being top on the list. This makes it an invaluable power source that is likely to continue playing a big role in our energy grids for decades to come. 

Nuclear currently supplies about 20% of the electricity consumed in the United States and 10% of the global electricity generation mix--the IEA estimates that percentage will remain unchanged through 2040. About 55 power reactors are currently being constructed in 15 countries, notably in China, Russia, India and the United Arab Emirates.

Unfortunately, the nuclear sector including uranium mining is likely to continue facing a huge global backlash as we pointed here

Source: Power Mag

According to IRENA, renewable energy accounted for 72% of new capacity additions in 2019.

Last year, the IEA predicted that renewable generation could nearly double, from 26% in 2019 to 44% in 2040.

The Covid-19 pandemic and ESG momentum only appear to be accelerating that trend, with renewable energy the only energy sector that has continued to grow amid the pandemic: During the first quarter, renewables’ share in the global electricity generation mix jumped from 26% to 28%, mainly at the expense of coal and natural gas.

Conventional renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are the future of electricity generation.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:

Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • Okuse Marvellous on July 28 2020 said:
    Due to this era of time, the world is passing through so many difficulty. Since we all know that, the hole world is under the attack of the pandemic virus known as corona-virus. So many life and properties are been destroyed, am advise to the world is to keep calm, do as the government says and we will be safe until this issue is over.

Leave a comment

EXXON Mobil -0.35
Open57.81 Trading Vol.6.96M Previous Vol.241.7B
BUY 57.15
Sell 57.00
Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News