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Powering World with Nuclear Would Cost Quadrillion Dollars, Says Expert - Are Renewables Only Option?

One of the leading voices on the environment said the only way to address global climate change and the growing demand for energy was to invest in renewables.

Author, journalist and campaigner Oliver Tickell spoke recently at Ecobuild, a sustainable building conference.

He said while the price of solar energy continued to fall, other options including nuclear energy were unreliable and expensive.

"Solar is absolutely falling in price year on year," said Tickell. "In Australia solar is now cheaper than coal so if someone was to go into power generation they would pay less to use solar than coal. For a farmer in Bangladesh solar panels are cheaper than using a diesel pump."

The huge increase in energy company is down to the rapid development of emerging markets, such as Africa, India and China and the trend looks set to continue meaning urgent action is needed.

Currently the equivalent of a new Germany is added to global grid every year in terms of energy consumption, and the current production capacity of power stations and other energy creating devices cannot keep up.

Mr Tickell cast aside claims nuclear was a valid option, saying the cost would be cripplingly expensive. He used the proposed Hinkley nuclear plant as an example, citing the huge cost of its construction, insurance risk, research grants as well as long-term decommissioning costs.

"We would need 10,000 nuclear plants to provide the majority of global energy need," explains Tickell. "The cost to the tax payer for one single reactor would be $100 billion. To build 10,000, it would cost 1 quadrillion dollars. The nuclear industry is in state of desperation."

He added the solar industry needs to grow and said the whole renewables sector was set to continue booming, especially helped by the generous return-on-investment available.

Mr. Tickell is the author of the Kyoto2 climate, and Lima Curtis writes for

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Lima Curtis writes about matters of energy and the environment for many sites including the Independent, Earth Times and


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