CICERO - Center for International Climate Research

The Impact of Climate Change on Nuclear Power Supply

Kristin Linnerud, Torben Kenea Mideksa, Gunnar Eskeland

A warmer climate may result in lower thermal efficiency and reduced load - including shutdowns - in thermal power plants. Focusing on nuclear power plants, we use different European datasets and econometric strategies to identify these two supply-side effects. We find that a rise in temperature of 1 degree C reduces the supply of nuclear power by about 0.5% through its effect on thermal efficiency; during droughts and heat waves, the production loss may exceed 2.0% per degree Celsius because power plant cooling systems are constrained by physical laws, regulations and access to cooling water. As climate changes, one must consider measures to protect against and/or to adapt to these impacts.

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