What is the place of nuclear technology in the future energy mix?

Discussions on how to reach net zero are running hot given that energy systems fully based on renewable power are not within reach in the next decades.  The reasons are related to challenges of excess solar or wind energy production in certain periods and insufficient production in other periods, which cannot be effectively absorbed by batteries and demand response at current levels of technological progress. Flexibility of production is therefore achieved by conventional powerplants using fossil fuels. The climate activists are demanding the end of fossil fuels today rather than tomorrow. What possible responses are there to this challenge?  Well, one response is the end of coal fired power plants as they are the ‘dirtiest’ production.  Another response is CO2 capture technologies and green hydrogen production in times of excess wind and solar. But there is also the third possibility to avoid CO2 emissions, and this is to build out nuclear production. There are a lot of concerns around nuclear technology, which cause many countries including Austria, my country of residence, to decide against using nuclear technology. Austria made this decision in a rather unusual way, by building a nuclear power plant first, and then asking people in a referendum… continue reading

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