Nuclear must be part of the low-carbon mix | Letters

Agneta Rising of the World Nuclear Association and Dr Alexander Bannara reply to criticisms of the industry

Re David Lowry’s criticisms of nuclear energy (Letters, 17 September), it is true that nuclear plants stop generating temporarily for maintenance and repair, but the same is true for most other forms of electricity generation. However, on average these outages represent a much smaller quantity of lost generation compared to the day-to-day intermittency of wind or solar. Nuclear plants spend a high proportion of the time generating at their maximum capacity.

On emissions, some proponents of both nuclear and renewables do fall into the habit of referring to their technologies as “zero-carbon”, even though there are some greenhouse gas emissions produced with all forms of generation. But there is remarkable academic agreement that the emissions from nuclear, wind, solar and many other non-fossil generation sources are similarly low per unit of electricity generated and these emissions are tiny fractions of those associated with burning coal and gas. We desperately need to cut emissions in our electricity mix to as low as possible.

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