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​​​​​​​IAEA explains nuclear's vital role in a carbon-free future

IAEA explains nuclear's vital role in a carbon-free future, 08 January 2020

Nuclear power provides 10% of global electricity, but to stem climate change the world is going to need far greater amounts of clean and reliable energy, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says in a short film it published today. To tackle climate change, 80% of all electricity will need to be low carbon by 2050.

The video - Nuclear Power: The Road to a Carbon Free Future - notes that 30 countries currently operate nuclear power plants and that more than two dozen others are looking at nuclear energy to meet their power and climate needs. Russia, India and China are currently leading the way in expanding nuclear power. China has nine reactors under construction, the most anywhere. Countries elsewhere are also building new reactors, like Finland, and the United Arab Emirates and Belarus are close to operating their first nuclear power plants, while Bangladesh and Turkey recently started construction of theirs.

Juha Poikola of TVO power company in Finland, says in the film: "Our biggest climate act in Finland will be when the new reactor will start, in Olkiluoto." Ibrahim Halil Dere from Turkey's Ministry of Energy, says: "We believe that nuclear energy is an indispensible option for Turkey because it is emission free, environmentally friendly, sustainable and a reliable electricity source."

Currently 450 nuclear power reactors operate worldwide, but to respond to emerging needs and challenges, the nuclear power industry is looking ahead towards innovative solutions for the long-term operation of existing reactors, the timely expansion of ongoing nuclear power programmes, and the deployment of new reactor technologies, the film says. Several countries are developing small modular reactors (SMRs) and one has already been built in Russia, it adds, referring to the floating nuclear power plant Akademik Lomonosov.


David Svarrer's picture
David Svarrer on Jan 14, 2020 4:15 pm GMT

Dear Noam. 

The Nuclear industry is frantically trying to explain their ubiquitousness. 

Everyone here in Energy Central speaking loudly about the necessity of Nuclear Power to "balance the renewables" - are factually, at this moment - 14th of January 2020 - right about it. 

The problem they are facing is the massively upcoming distributed energy - which is cropping up everywhere. We are (in our corporate) working in tandem with now 7 of those who could have been competitors - but whom we are actively recruiting into forming strong bonds.

And some of those partners we are "recruiting" are producing powerful energystorage solutions for decentralized / distributed use. These storages are fast-switching in that these are being FED with energy and TAPPED from energy at the same time, not like electrical batteries which can only be charged or discharged at any one given time. 

These systems will kill off any need for any energy balancing. 

I have had quite some enlightening conversation on two independent energy-conferences held in Kenya - where a Canadian and an American in front of myself and two other quite baffled consultants told me about the huge fear amongst the Nuclear Power manufacturers - which is also being spoken about by C-level executives in the Nuclear Power associations - they see the Nuclear Power on an general decline, and while some are seeing this (as many of the members here) as an  opportunity many see this as the end of Nuclear Power, mostly due to the more than bleak reputation of this industry. 

So, while indeed some countries are still expanding their Nuclear Power base - the very SAME countries are very hesitant on commissioning further Nuclear Power Stations.

Pay attention to, that big scale R&D in many countries, are solving the large scale energy storage problems. RISØ (Denmark) is one of them, who with a large government grant and the investment of several huge partners, are venturing into finding the best solution to heat storage of energy, exactly to solve the problem which you (Naom and many with you) rightfully describe as a current problem - namely the fluctuation of the energy from renewables.

In the Scandinavian countries and in countries where some of the large scale off shore wind farms are being setup - large scale experiments are also being conducted, where individual homes are being equipped with systems enabling switching on and off various energy consumers based on the energy being produced from renewables - thereby levelling the erratic equilibrium between renewable production and customers/industrial consumption.

Therefore, Noam, you are indeed right in quoting this video and copying us on the footage and the text from it - but the conclusion is by far tipping towards renewable energy. 

There is a factor which is ubiquitous too: Energy CONSUMERS have for decades now, been dissatisfied with shifting governments and energy producers' and their helter skelter changing prices and also unstable grid power. 

The argument often promoted - that Nuclear Power is stable is true - seen at the "terminals" (if one can call it that...) of the power plant. But at the end user level - the map of even USA - shows on a very serious note, that power cuts are rampant almost all over USA. Therefore, the population all over USA is used to power cuts lasting from minutes to hours to even days (South states..) on end. 

Therefore, there will be nothing new in power cuts - only now the cause will be due to lack of wind and sun - not due to that the production cannot meet the demand. And now - the consumer will be in control themselves - a factor they have been eagerly waiting to take control over. The growth of renewable energy is therefore not only driven by ecological and economical factors but ALSO driven by, that the so hailed Nuclear Power has not lived up to its reputation. 

And now to one of the Achilles heels of THAT part of the story / equation: Nuclear Power has not been sufficiently been built up to delivery - because - which Nuclear Power station wants to be producing MORE and ABOVE base load? Nobody! Because then - the power cost more. The operational cost of a Nucler Power plant is barely the Uranium - going at USD 140 per kilogram of Uranium - each kilogram containing - was it 24 million kWh? - The vast cost of a Nuclear plant is the writing off of the equipment, the plant, and the maintenance of it and the handling of the waste. Therefore, the economy of scale of a Nuclear Power plant ALSO dictates that it must be up above a certain (high!) percentage in utilization - otherwise the cost of energy per kWh will increase (tremendously) - as the FUEL (Uranium) is by far not the contributor to the cost of energy. 

THIS EXPLAINS why the so hailed Nuclear power cannot deliver this stability - not because of that the nuclear power station is not stable - it indeed is - but the cost of making it "all time available" also in people's homes - is too high.

(I hope, @Bob Meinetz, that you are reading here - you are one of those who never fail to hail the Nuclear Power Plant stability - which is a true fact (as long as they do not blow up in smoke or are exposed to the 1-in-10,000 year events after only few years of operation) - 

This is then also the reason for the argument in a former response I gave - that I labelled Nuclear Power as "not working". Bob took it that the power station was not working. And I confirmed that the power stations themselves are working - but the power as a supply for the people - is NOT working due to the above mentioned reasons. 

Naom? Bob?


Rational Intuitive (Denmark)

David Svarrer

RED Architect

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