Nuclear energy

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) is looking to provide his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, with nuclear energy. EPA

Why nuclear power would be a bad option for South Africa

Instead of spending time trying to make nuclear energy a possibility, South Africa should look to forms of renewable energy instead.
Countries should make pledges to fund low-carbon research - such as developing solar technology - and development as part of global climate talks. University of Salford Press Office/Flickr

What’s missing from our climate pledges? Low-carbon R&D

Countries will take emissions reduction pledges to international climate talks in Paris at the end of this year. Those pledges should also include funds for low-carbon R&D.
Reactor pressure vessel during construction of Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania, 1956. U.S. Department of Energy, Naval Reactors Program

How nuclear power-generating reactors have evolved since their birth in the 1950s

The basics of fission physics have stayed the same over the decades. But power-generating reactor designs have evolved, turning to new coolants, recycled fuel and other innovations.
Thorium has its advantages over uranium nuclear power, but is it right for Australia? dymidziuk.janusz/Flickr

Should Australia consider thorium nuclear power?

Thorium has several advantages over uranium nuclear power, but it also has its drawbacks. However, the question remains whether it would be the right technology should Australia choose to go nuclear.
South Australia already mines uranium. Could it become a nuclear state? AAP Image/Quasar Resources

Royal commission into nuclear will open a world of possibilities

South Australian premier Jay Weatherill on Sunday announced a formal inquiry into the future role of the state in the nuclear fuel cycle, which will be tasked with considering options across the full gamut…
Nuclear power plants, like this one in Tennessee, supply almost 20 percent of the electricity in the US. Nuclear Regulatory Comission

What’s inside the first new US nuclear plant in two decades

It’s been almost two decades since a new nuclear plant opened for business in the United States. But that’s about to change as construction wraps up on the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Unit 2…
Energy supply including nuclear is the best way to fight climate change and conserve wildlife and ecosystems. James Marvin Phelps/Flickr

It’s time for environmentalists to give nuclear a fair go

Should nuclear energy be part of Australia’s (and many other countries') future energy mix? We think so, particularly as part of a solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent dangerous climate…
Now we need a hole big enough. Nuclear waste by Shutterstock. F.Schmidt

Britain’s nuclear waste, a problem proving hard to bury

A proposal for radioactive waste to appear at a burial site nearby, would be likely to fill the great majority of the UK population with thoughts of danger, cancer – and falling house prices. This illustrates…
Big may be beautiful but it’s also inflexible and expensive. Andrew Parsons/PA

Small nuclear reactors may be the key to a low-carbon future

Take a hard look at the painful process of de-carbonising the UK’s electricity supply, and it’s clear that the options on the table are not great. From the outset, changes to the system generate further…
Superheated plasma inside the tokamak reactor, a split second before a fusion reaction. Scott Silburn/James Harrison/Alex Meakins

For decades a distant dream, the countdown to nuclear fusion may have finally begun

The latest results from the National Ignition Facility in the US represent the passing of a nuclear fusion power milestone and come after a year of significant progress at projects in France and the UK…
This Russian-built nuclear power plant in India may be one of many soon appearing in developing countries. Rafiq Maqbool/AP

Nations' nuclear ambitions not discouraged by few suppliers

UN inspectors descend on Iran this week to visit the Arak heavy water plant, and engineers at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plants in Japan attempt one of the most challenging nuclear salvage operations…
Can Scotland generate enough energy to go it alone, or is it blowing in the wind? Ben Curtis/PA

Scotland benefits by paying for its energy, not UK’s mistakes

Could Scotland benefit from having an independent electricity system? Our report published this week found that it could – if it meant Scotland paying for (and benefiting from) its own renewable energy…
Concerns over nuclear energy mean Japan is moving back to fossil fuels. EPA/TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA

Climate targets are the fallout from Japan’s nuclear disaster

Japan has announced it is significantly reducing its greenhouse gas reduction target. It now aims to achieve a 3.8% cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 versus 2005 levels. The new target amounts to…
Floating nuclear power station under construction. Rosenergoatom

Russia’s floating nuclear plants to power remote Arctic regions

Though Russia is one of the world’s largest producers of oil and gas, it is embarking on an ambitious and somewhat imaginative programme of building floating nuclear power stations. These are part of Russia’s…
David Cameron’s government has got their new nuclear power stations - but at what cost? Tim Ireland/PA

New nuclear is a lose-lose situation for Britain

The first new nuclear power station in Britain in nearly 20 years is to be built, an announcement that comes only two and a half years after the disaster at Fukushima focused the world’s attention the…

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