Global Warming Could Be Helped by Hybrid Nuclear Plants

Global Warming

With the recent walkout at the Climate Change Convention, which battled governmental inaction towards global warming, other factors like hybrid nuclear plants are looked at in order to help reduce global warming.

America has played an active roll for years in using low-cost coal resources. These resources are becoming increasingly unpopular as fears for the climate escalate.

Studies have proven that if global warming continues at the steady rate it is going, sea levels will rise further, which will be made worse through melting at the poles. The number of floods and droughts will increase and fresh water will be less available due to sources of water disappearing. Hurricanes and other storms will become more violent and disease is predicted to spread. Species will also be forced to relocate or become extinct. Some species will even become incoherent, for example plants will bloom earlier than pollinating insects like bees have emerged.

Rather than using batteries when renewable energy sources are not available, studies have shown that the combination of nuclear with artificial geothermal, shale oil, or hydrogen production could help to slow climate change. This would allow the production of energy to increase, which in turn would decrease dependence on fossil fuels.

Fossil fuels are formed through natural processes, such as the decomposition of dead organisms that are buried. This process takes millions of years, making them non-renewable sources. Reserves are being burnt much quicker than new ones are developing, which is why scientists are looking to find other alternatives like the hybrid nuclear plant, in order to help slow global warming.

It is estimated that fossil fuels produce around 21.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, which not only contributes to global warming and climate change, but is one of the key factors. A recent report by the University of Oxford and Victoria University, made during the time of the latest Climate Change Convention, stated that unless carbon dioxide emissions are reduced, methane emissions can not have a strong influence upon the magnitude of warming.

It has been scientifically proven that both human and environmental factors cause methane levels to rise. Since the pre-industrial period, methane has increased by 150 percent in comparison with carbon dioxide, which has only risen by 30 percent. Methane contributes to global warming because it traps heat in the atmosphere and reacts with other important chemicals.

In order to help reduce the effects of global warming caused by gasses like methane and carbon dioxide, MIT has suggested combining a nuclear power plant with either an artificial geothermal storage system, a shale-oil recovery system, or a hydrogen production plant. They have stated that the surplus power from the nuclear power plant, “could be diverted to either of these alternative energy solutions.” This would construct a “stable hybrid system to balance the disparities between production and demand.”

This formation of nuclear energy from hybrid nuclear plants could be beneficial to aid reduction of global warming. In comparison to fossil fuels, it is much more environmentally-friendly, and is a way to ensure “cost-effective, secure and high penetration of low-carbon into the economy.”

(Op-Ed)

By Melissa McDonald

MIT

ZmeScience

NPR