MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Co-generation "better for climate than nuclear"

Published by MAC on 2007-04-24

Co-generation "better for climate than nuclear"

ENDS Europe DAILY 2307

24th April 2007

Fossil-fuel-based cogeneration of heat and power emits less carbon dioxide than nuclear-based alternatives providing the same service, according to a study released by the German environment ministry on Tuesday.

The conclusions will inject further life into the international debate on nuclear's role in climate change policy and the long-running national debate on phasing out atomic plants. "We don't need any more atomic power to protect the climate, we need more cogeneration," environment minister Sigmar Gabriel said in reaction to the findings.

The study was done by think-tank Oko-Institut, which calculated life-cycle emissions for cogeneration of heat and electricity in high-efficiency gas-fired power plants. It compared these to the carbon emissions from nuclear power generation, including uranium mining, and from the separate heating requirements of consumers not connected to cogeneration plants.

Because nuclear-powered households normally use oil or gas for heating, the authors say, their overall emissions come to 772 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour (g/kWh). Emissions from heat-and-power plants are slightly lower, at 747g/kWh.

The study also compares the carbon emissions of nuclear generation alone (31-61g/kWh) with emissions from different renewable technologies such as wind (23g/kWh), hydropower (39g/kWh) and photovoltaics (89g/kWh).

Follow-up: See German environment ministry press release http://www.bmu.de/pressemitteilungen/pressemitteilungen_ab_22112005/pm/39226.php and the study

http://www.bmu.de/files/pdfs/allgemein/application/pdf/hintergrund_atomco2.pdf.

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