The feasibility of a nuclear renaissance: a cost-benefit analysis of nuclear energy as a source of electricity
Lombaard, Andries Lodewikus
Kleynhans, Ewert P.J.
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Purpose: This article evaluates a possible global nuclear renaissance in the provision of electrical energy. Problem investigated: Several countries, such as South Africa, are experiencing problems in the provision of electricity and the maintenance of the infrastructure to answer growing demand. This article investigates an alternative, which was popular in the 1970s and provides clean energy. Methodology: The study firstly evaluates the main arguments set by anti-nuclear activists critically. It concerns negative public sentiment, human life and environmental endangerment, alternative energy, cost effectiveness and waste disposal concerns. The study focuses on the cost of nuclear power, as the benefits of electricity are assumed homogeneous. The second part of the article reports on an empirical cost-benefit analysis conducted by the authors to estimate the value and likeliness of a nuclear renaissance. Findings and implications: The empirical analysis indicated that nuclear energy is mostly cost-efficient. The research shows that there might be a slight increase in the use of nuclear power-producing technologies in future. Originality and value of the research: This study makes a positive contribution to the electrical power and nuclear energy debate. It assesses the possibility of a nuclear renaissance objectively. The environment, global energy shortage and different cost structures of various modes of energy production were considered. Conclusion: The study concluded that a nuclear renaissance is possible, but that despite the advantages to costs and the environment, this would not yet be statistically significant enough to cause a nuclear renaissance.