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View Diary: If not nuclear power, what? (55 comments)

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  •  I've never seen a study (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerry J, erush1345, SpeedyGonzales

    that showed nuclear as having higher carbon than PV. It is usually comparable to wind as the lowest. Do you have a source for those numbers?

    •  here's the best study we have seen on this.... (4+ / 0-)

      From Benjamin Sovacool of VA Tech & Univ. of Singapore; a review of more than 100 studies comparing carbon emissions from nukes and fossil fuels:

      •  Prof. Sovacool is outstanding (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nirsnet, John Crapper, SaraBeth

        I've spoken with him personally, previously invited him to this site, and have read a number of his papers now. He's really spot-on and very, very well-reasoned. I highly recommend his expertise to anyone interested in nuclear issues as well as other energy issues.

      •  interesting (0+ / 0-)

        thanks for the link.

        Interesting dichotomy for someone doing a critical survey of 103 studies on nuclear for him to take his numbers for renewable from a single source, no?

        I've just read the abstract, but this paper seems more in-line with his screening method (admittedly, this paper was written four years after Sovacool). Might be good to add to your arsenal. I would put life cycle carbon of nuclear and solar as essentially equal. Obviously, PV is dependent on the resource so nuclear would likely have the edge in Germany (ironic, no?) with PV having the edge in Arizona.

        Published scientific literature contains many studies estimating life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of residential and utility‐scale solar photovoltaics (PVs). Despite the volume of published work, variability in results hinders generalized conclusions. Most variance between studies can be attributed to differences in methods and assumptions. To clarify the published results for use in decision making and other analyses, we conduct a meta‐analysis of existing studies, harmonizing key performance characteristics to produce more comparable and consistently derived results. Screening 397 life cycle assessments (LCAs) relevant to PVs yielded 13 studies on crystalline silicon (c‐Si) that met minimum standards of quality, transparency, and relevance. Prior to harmonization, the median of 42 estimates of life cycle GHG emissions from those 13 LCAs was 57 grams carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt‐hour (g CO‐eq/kWh), with an interquartile range (IQR) of 44 to 73. After harmonizing key performance characteristics (irradiation of 1,700 kilowatt‐hours per square meter per year (kWh/m2/yr); system lifetime of 30 years; module efficiency of 13.2% or 14.0%, depending on module type; and a performance ratio of 0.75 or 0.80, depending on installation, the median estimate decreased to 45 and the IQR tightened to 39 to 49. The median estimate and variability were reduced compared to published estimates mainly because of higher average assumptions for irradiation and system lifetime. For the sample of studies evaluated, harmonization effectively reduced variability, providing a clearer synopsis of the life cycle GHG emissions from c‐Si PVs. The literature used in this harmonization neither covers all possible c‐Si installations nor represents the distribution of deployed or manufactured c‐Si PVs.

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