Will the nuclear exit lead to an increase in CO₂ emissions in Belgium?

When electricity is generated by nuclear power, there is no combustion and so no CO₂ is released. The plume that comes out of the cooling towers is water vapor.

The International Panel on Climate Change (United Nations) calculated the CO2 emissions (in grams per kilowatt hour) from different energy sources:

  • Wind farms: 11 g/kWh
  • Nuclear power plants: 12 g/kWh
  • Solar panels: 27 g/kWh
  • Gas power plants: 490 g/kWh
  • Coal-fired power plants: 820 g/kWh


If we consider the full life cycle of a nuclear power plant (including the mining and transportation of raw materials, the construction and dismantling of the nuclear power plant, and finally the storage and handling of waste), the CO2 emissions of nuclear power are comparable to those of renewable energy.

As long as there is insufficient capacity from renewable energy to make up for the loss of electricity from nuclear power plants, the government will use other energy sources as transition energy, including gas power plants. Even though these gas plants will meet the strictest environmental standards, a (temporary) increase in CO2 emissions is to be expected.

Electrabel is also offering its expertise to support the government in meeting its targets, with efficient gas power plants whose emissions are kept as low as possible. 
 

If we consider the full life cycle of a nuclear power plant, the CO2 emissions of nuclear power are comparable to those of renewable energy.

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