Nuclear an 'unconditional part' of green energy balance

19 July 2017

Nuclear power has an essential role to play in achieving a 'carbon free' future, Rosatom deputy director-general Kirill Komarov said yesterday during the Expo-2017 conference in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Komarov spoke during a panel session Carbon-free energy as the energy of the future, which also included Helmut Engelbrecht, chairman of the World Nuclear Association, Luis Echávarri, former director-general of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, Dominique Minière group senior executive vice president of nuclear and thermal at EDF, Takuya Hattori, former president of the Japan Atomic Industry Forum, and Tom Blees, president of The Science Council for Global Initiatives. Rosatom included their comments in a statement about their discussion today.

"Everyone remembers the decisions of the Paris climate conference, which declared the consolidation of efforts of most countries to create a green energy future. Now it is necessary to deal with details because, when people talk about eco-friendly energy, they mean solar, wind, and hydropower and often forget nuclear power, though this is undoubtedly part of the green energy mix," Komarov said. "Clean energy of all kinds should not be in competition, but be used in combination," he added.

Komarov noted that nuclear power is a reliable and predictable source of electricity that supports economic development by providing "clear conditions" that may be forecast 60 years ahead. It also offers "low volatility" because the "commodity component" in the cost of energy generated by nuclear power plants is very low - below 3%.

"For comparison, the cost of the fuel for gas and coal plants amounts to 60-70%," he added.

Komarov noted that scientists agree renewable energy should not exceed 40% of a country's electricity mix, since the grid could not support a greater share.

"This is not an absolute figure, but we should determine a place for each source of power generation. We believe the construction of 1000 GWe of new nuclear power plants by 2050 to be a realistic target," he said.

Engelbrecht added: "Nuclear power currently has an 11% share of the world energy balance. If we build nuclear power plants as we did in the 1970s and 1980s, then we'll be able to supply 25% of the world's energy by 2050."

He also stressed that it is important to observe international regulations on the use of nuclear energy, including agreements on the construction of nuclear facilities with neighbouring states.

Echávarri said it is necessary to develop sources of renewable energy, but at the same time baseload power must be provided, meaning nuclear.

Hattori noted the three main principles of the development of nuclear power: energy security, environmental safety and cost efficiency. Considering that Japan is currently importing all of its electricity from abroad, "everybody understands that we need nuclear power", he said. Japan's nuclear power industry is making "steady progress" with regaining public acceptance, and ten reactors are scheduled for start-up by the end of this year, he said. The country aims to reduce its CO2 emissions by 26% by 2030, he added.

Blees stressed that world electricity demand is forecast to increase by 30% by 2040. This, he added, excludes demand for power required for water desalination, the charging of electric cars and electric motors for airplanes.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News