IEA Warns of Higher Carbon Emissions if Nuclear Power Cut

As the International Energy Agency realigns its forecast for global energy supplies following decisions by European countries to close reactors, its executive director has warned that abandoning nuclear power will lead to increased energy costs and more carbon emissions.

At the World Energy Prize ceremony in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, IEA executive director Nobuo Tanaka said a global energy mix with less nuclear generation will cost more, be less sustainable and result in less energy security. Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported that the IEA previously forecast nuclear plants would generate 14 percent of the world's electricity by 2035. Tanaka said people would see serious consequences even if it were reduced to 10 percent.

His comments follow recent decisions by Germany and Switzerland to phase out their nuclear plants and a referendum last weekend in Italy to abandon plans for new reactors. Earlier, Tanaka warned that Germany's plans could have widespread energy supply and security consequences across the whole of Europe’s interconnected power market.

The bulk of new nuclear development is in the developing world, namely China, India and Russia, which the Guardian reported account for 80 percent of new reactor orders. None has made drastic changes to its nuclear plans since Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in March prompted other countries to reconsider the technology. The IEA has indicated the decisions of the developing countries will drive both the future of nuclear power and carbon emissions.

The IEA was formed in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis to coordinate the energy policies of its 28 member countries.

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