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Assessment of the role of nuclear power on energy policies and climate change mitigation strategies of developing countries

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2020
Güngör, Görkem.
Nuclear energy is considered as one of the climate change mitigation options in the energy supply sector by substituting electricity generated from base load fossil fueled power plants reducing GHG emissions. Internalizing the costs of CO2 emissions provides an additional economic incentive for investment in nuclear energy both in developed and developing countries. While developed countries with stable energy demand are focused on the robustness and resilience of their energy systems, the priority of developing countries continues to be the strengthening of energy security in order to supply their increasing energy demand. Climate change is one of the major global commons problems of our society which requires long-term and ambitious strategies in order to transform the socioeconomic development to low-carbon energy pathways. The role of nuclear energy in transformation of the energy sector has been assessed by the climate change community on regional and global scales using various integrated assessment models. However there is a gap between the results of these studies and the quantitative commitments of countries for climate change mitigation in their NDCs submitted to the UNFCCC resulting in higher GHG emissions. In this study I show that the role of low-carbon energy supply options for climate change v mitigation depends on global socioeconomic development pathways especially for developing countries already facing a transition in their economies and energy systems. The role of nuclear energy for supplying the electricity required for developing countries is dependent on global socio-economic pathways supporting investment in most stringent GHG emissions scenarios. Expert elicitation was used for MCA of energy supply system modeling results by integrating CO2 emissions from power sector, flexibility of the electricity grid to supply peak load demand, change in welfare from carbon tax and transfer of revenues for subsidizing renewable energy, and the total discounted energy system costs. The results show that for the second commitment period of the Paris Agreement, the role of nuclear energy is for supporting the transition of the energy system to a low carbon future for both green transformation and regional rivalry scenarios.