#5 Nuclear power has multiple assets for sustainable cities and communities
(decarbonizing transport and district heating: a huge project)
How does nuclear contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goal #11: Supporting sustainable cities and communities?
Governments around the world are putting in place policies to phase out combustion engines for road transportation, and to encourage the use of electric vehicles that will avoid the direct emissions currently produced by gasoline or diesel.
However, if the electricity used for transportation is produced from fossil fuels, this still results in air pollution (NOx, SOx, fine particles, ozone), as well as greenhouse gas emissions.
A massive shift to electric vehicles will increase the need for clean energy, including nuclear power. Since night charging is likely to be the most common mode of operation, the continuous availability of nuclear power plants is an important asset.
Hydrogen fuel cells could also have an important role to play in future transportation systems. Here again, it will be essential to produce this hydrogen from low-carbon energy sources. Nuclear reactors can already be used to produce hydrogen by electrolysis, and high temperature reactors can produce hydrogen by thermochemistry.
Heating homes with low-carbon alternatives also helps achieve this goal. Low-carbon hydrogen could replace fuel oil and fossil gas in heating network boilers, but above all the use of electric storage heaters and heat pumps can be greatly extended.
The development of residential air conditioning, accentuated by global warming, will also require significant additional amounts of low-carbon and reliable electricity.
For smaller communities away from grids, small modular reactors (SMRs) can provide both carbon-free electricity and heat.
The full report of the World Nuclear Association is available here.
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