Air Pollution as a Climate Forcing: A Workshop
Day 3 Presentations
Preliminary Estimation for Contribution of Nuclear Power to Reduce Emission of Air Pollutants from Electricity Sector in Japan
Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
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Nuclear power plants emit almost no air pollutants such as SOx, NOx, particulates and greenhouse gases (GHG) during plant operation, and their energy balance, i.e. the ratio of energy output versus energy input, is very low compared to fossil fuel energy. These facts imply that the introduction of nuclear power contributes to reducing the emission of these air pollutants. Of course, it is not possible to evaluate exactly what would have happened if nuclear power had not been introduced, because, elimination of nuclear energy from energy options would have changed the entire structure of economic activities relating to energy production and consumption. For the same reasons, evaluation of contributions of nuclear power to mitigating air pollution in the future is also difficult. Nevertheless, it is possible to provide useful estimates of how the introduction of nuclear power mitigated the environmental impact in the past or how it can mitigate the air pollution in the future. This paper first describes the energy mixes of the past in Japan and the history of the improvement of emission factors of air pollutants. This paper also provides preliminary results of calculations of the emission of air pollutants from the electricity sector in Japan in the case nuclear power had not been introduced but instead the electricity had been produced by thermal power. We also provide some consideration of the role of nuclear energy in the future.