Nuclear Versus Coal Plus CCS: A Comparison of Two Competitive Base-Load Climate Control Options

24 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2009

See all articles by Massimo Tavoni

Massimo Tavoni

Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM); Princeton University - Princeton Environmental Institute

Bob van der Zwaan

Columbia University - Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy, Earth Institute

Date Written: December 1, 2009

Abstract

In this paper we analyze the relative importance and mutual behavior of two competing base-load electricity generation options that each are capable of contributing significantly to the abatement of global CO2 emissions: nuclear energy and coal-based power production complemented with CO2 capture and storage (CCS). We also investigate how, in scenarios from an integrated assessment model that simulates the economics of a climate-constrained world, the prospects for nuclear energy would change if exogenous limitations on the spread of nuclear technology were relaxed. Using the climate change economics model WITCH we find that until 2050 the resulting growth rates of nuclear electricity generation capacity become comparable to historical rates observed during the 1980s. Given that nuclear energy continues to face serious challenges and contention, we inspect how extensive the improvements of coal-based power equipped with CCS technology would need to be if our model is to significantly scale down the construction of new nuclear power plants.

Keywords: Economic Competition, Electricity Sector, Nuclear Power, Coal Power, CCS, Renewables, Climate Policy

JEL Classification: D8, D9, H0, O3, O4, Q4, Q5

Suggested Citation

Tavoni, Massimo and van der Zwaan, Bob, Nuclear Versus Coal Plus CCS: A Comparison of Two Competitive Base-Load Climate Control Options (December 1, 2009). FEEM Working Paper No. 100.2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1516211 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1516211

Massimo Tavoni (Contact Author)

Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) ( email )

Corso Magenta 63
20123 Milan
Italy

Princeton University - Princeton Environmental Institute

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

Bob Van der Zwaan

Columbia University - Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy, Earth Institute ( email )

314 Low Library
535 West 116th Street, MC 4327
New York, NY 10027
United States

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