Home Environment Reflections on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident
Figure 5.3 shows electric power generation for the world and selected countries. In the Base case, a majority of the world's primary energy is almost exclusively derived from coal, gas, and oil until the middle of this century. In particular, coal, whose reserves and resources are abundant and economically affordable, shows remarkable growth in supply among fossil fuels. After the middle of this century, when the extraction of conventional sources peaks, unconventional oil and gas, which is more expensive than conventional oil and gas, will start to be produced. This decline in the economic effi y of fossil fuel encourages in part the introduction of nuclear energy and, to a lesser extent, renewable energy such as solar, biomass, and wind power. This fossil fuel-intensive scenario leads to substantial CO2 emissions, which in turn causes a rise in atmospheric concentrations.
By contrast, in the REG case, the imposition of a carbon regulation target encourages the large-scale adoption of carbon-free energy in addition to reduced demand from a combination of improvements in efficiency. On one hand, at the beginning of the century, coal, concentrated in thermal plants, becomes
significantly less competitive due to the carbon penalty, although IGCC with carbon capture and storage (CCS) play an important role later in the century. On the other hand, natural gas, introduced early in the century based on its economic attractiveness, maintains this position later with the adoption of CCS, with gasfired power plants supplying around a quarter of total electric power capacity in the second half of the century.
Concerning the perspective on nuclear energy, nuclear LWR is limited in the second half of the century by the exhaustion of uranium resources. Introduction of FBR reactors enables these technologies to supply power requirements well beyond 2050. In addition, achieving low stabilization does not appear to be possible without large-scale deployment of renewables over the long term. Later in the century, biomass, solar, and wind power are expected to play an essential role in decarbonizing the electric power supply. It is worth noting that renewable technologies are deemed essential for achieving low stabilization targets.
Concerning nuclear power generation, however, it is difficult to explicitly consider the impact of disruptive events such as the Fukushima nuclear disaster with the energy model developed here; the Fukushima accident has caused increased concerns about nuclear safety focusing on the resilience of nuclear facilities for a huge natural disaster and has amplified the uncertainty of nuclear energy in the global long-term energy mix due to the issue of public acceptance. In order to expect a certain role for nuclear energy in the long-term energy scenario as already described, it should be noted that an enormous technical and political effort will be necessary to resolve these concerns and recover public confidence in the safety of nuclear reactors.
Figure 5.4 represents CO2 mitigation by technological measures by shifting from the Base case to the REG case to realize CO2 emission levels. Toward the middle of the century, nuclear, biomass, and CCS in aquifers have considerable impact on reducing emissions. And thereafter to 2100, CCS in aquifers, depleted gas wells and oceans, combined with biomass, PV, and wind, greatly contribute to massive emissions abatement.
Fig. 5.4 CO2 mitigation by technological measures in order to realize CO2 emissions in REG case
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