August 15, 2022

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The rise in popularity can be reversed with one accident

The rise in popularity can be reversed with one accident

July 21, 2022, Bavaria, Essenbach: Water vapor rising behind sunflowers from the cooling system of the nuclear power plant (NPP) Isar 2.

Photo Alliance | Photo Alliance | Getty Images

Nuclear power is at an inflection point. Early exuberance about its potential was undermined by a series of devastating and dangerous accidents: Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979; Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986; And the Fukushima Daiichi in Japan in 2011.

But now, thanks to new technology and a growing urgency to combat climate change, nuclear power is getting a second chance to become a prominent part of the global energy network. That’s because nuclear power generation does not produce any dangerous emissions of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

in Panel discussion at the United Nations on Tuesdaya group of nuclear energy leaders from around the world come together to discuss the scope of that renaissance and why it is so important for the industry to work together to ensure gold safety standards are adopted everywhere.

A nuclear accident anywhere has the potential to shake the greatest momentum the nuclear industry has seen in decades.

$1 trillion of projected global demand

US Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm states that nuclear power accounts for 20% of the United States’ base-load capacity, and 50% of its carbon-neutral power. “And that’s just from the fleet we have today without the other additions we hope to see.”

Future reactors and nuclear plants will almost certainly use different technology than the current standard, with both US laboratories and private companies funding research into more efficient reactors that are cheaper to build and generate less waste. Granholm, for example, mentioned the advanced nuclear reactor that TerraPowerAnd the Bill GatesA nuclear innovation company, being installed in a former coal town in Wyoming.

Granholm said demand for advanced nuclear reactors will be about $1 trillion globally, according to an estimate by the Department of Energy. Granholm said that includes jobs building those reactors and all associated supply chains that will need to step up to support the industry.

“The bottom line is the deployment of advanced nuclear energy is a priority for us,” Granholm said. “Of course, all of these technologies have to start and end with nuclear safety and security.”

He said the change in sentiment around nuclear power happened very quickly Rafael Grossigeneral manager of International Atomic Energy Agency.

An image of dogs passing by a Ferris wheel in the background in the ghost town of Pripyat near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on May 29, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Dimitar Delkov | AFP | Getty Images

“Until just a few years ago, nuclear power would not exist, and would probably not be welcomed” at the annual conferences of the COP, which represents COP It provides an opportunity for world leaders to discuss climate change. “The IAEA has moved very quickly from an outsider to a very welcome participant in this dialogue where nuclear weapons have a place.”

The next COP conference will be in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, in Novemberfollowed by one in Dubai Expo City in The United Arab Emirates. The IAEA intends to be part of both conferences.

“Just the fact that we’re talking about COPs with nuclear power in Egypt, and in the Gulf, per se, tells you a lot about what’s happening and how we’re changing and the capabilities we have that would have been almost unanticipated just a few years ago,” Grossi said.

safety first

But if nuclear weapons are to continue to be a part of these climate change conferences and talks, proponents stress that the entire international community must work together to adhere to strict safety and nonproliferation standards.

“No one buys a car today if you have an accident every day. So safety and security… are the basis for the successful deployment of nuclear energy,” he said. Hamad Al KaabiRepresentative of the United Arab Emirates to the International Atomic Energy Agency, today, Tuesday.

“The issue of how the nuclear industry works and how it is viewed globally, any accident anywhere is an accident everywhere,” Al Kaabi said.

Al Kaabi said the UAE has three nuclear reactors in operation and a fourth reactor in the final stages of operation. But building nuclear plants takes time, and the process began in the UAE about 13 years ago.

Vietnam has been studying nuclear power for decades now, according to World Nuclear Association, an international trade group. The state announced a plan to build a nuclear power plant in 2006, but put those plans on hold in 2016, due in part to cost. Then, in March, Vietnam published a formal draft energy proposal that includes small nuclear reactors.

The United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) helped guide Vietnam in its efforts to include nuclear power in its national energy plan, Ha Kim Ngoc, Deputy Foreign Minister, said at the event on Tuesday. Ngoc said reactors are an attractive option for the relatively small country.

South Africa It has two reactors, according to the World Nuclear Association, and now other countries in Africa are interested in deploying nuclear power.

“Most of the countries I come from in Africa have very small networks,” said CEO Collins Juma of the Kenya Nuclear and Energy Agency. Designs for advanced nuclear reactors, especially small modular reactors, are intriguing, but Juma hinted that paying for such reactors could be difficult. Not sure about the cost, but we will discuss it in other forums.

As Africa decarbonises, nuclear power is a key corollary of wind, solar and geothermal energy on the continent. But bringing nuclear power to Africa will require strong independent regulation to convince people that it is safe.

“Nuclear energy is a very emotional topic,” Juma said. It is an area where “everyone is an expert” and thinks they know it is dangerous. “We have to be very careful when we come up with a nuclear power plan. And the public, and especially the public, must have confidence” that the nuclear power plant is safe, he said.

Gomaa said he was seeking guidance from the leading nuclear powers and organizations. “When you copy, you only copy from the best, you don’t copy from the worst,” he said.

For countries interested in building nuclear power reactors, the International Atomic Energy Agency has written an actual guide, Milestones in the Development of a National Nuclear Energy Infrastructure. It’s a good place for states to start, Grossi said.

“The moment is dangerous and we know it’s a red alert for the planet,” Grossi said. “We’ve said this, but nuclear power is not for a few, and nuclear power can be for many.”

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