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Nuclear Risk

Extremes and Environmental Risk

  1. Professor M. Grimston

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470057339.van022

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

How to Cite

Grimston, M. 2006. Nuclear Risk. Encyclopedia of Environmetrics. 3.

Author Information

  1. Royal Institute of International Affairs, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


The concept of ‘risk’ is inherently linked with that of uncertainty. In the field of energy, uncertainty manifests itself in a number of areas. For example, there is considerable uncertainty about future demands for energy. It seems highly likely that global energy demand will continue to grow rapidly for some decades, but credible projections for energy use in the year 2050, say, can vary by a factor of 2 or more depending on assumptions made. Even more uncertainty surrounds the atmospheric effects of burning fossil fuels. In order to stabilize carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere at double preindustrial levels, it would be necessary to reduce emission of the gas by 60% but global emissions in 2010 are projected to be 30% higher than in 1990. The risks of non-fossil sources of electricity production such as nuclear power and renewables need to be judged against such a background.