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Podcast / Audio

81. Nuclear Industry at the crossroads - Redefining Energy podcast

image credit: Credit: Redefining Energy / Urenco
Laurent Segalen's picture
CEO Megawatt-X

Laurent is a Franco-British financier, founder of Megawatt-X, the London-based global platform for Renewable Energy Assets. For the past twenty years, Laurent has been trading and managing...

  • Member since 2019
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  • Sep 1, 2022
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Talking about nuclear is tough. In the left corner, a besieged and opaque industry only delivering carefully crafted talking points; and in the right corner, most of the energy economists and financiers that are ignoring promises never met. One can’t escape the feeling that the nuclear industry operates in a parallel universe where models don’t match reality, where actual numbers don’t match forecasts; a world where nuclear generation is flat over the past 10 years while renewables have quadrupled.

Nevertheless, when the current nuclear fleet is either forcefully closed (like in Germany) or becomes unreliable (like in France or Japan) or uneconomic (like in the USA), we see emissions going up, the restart of old coal plants, and a reduction of energy security at enormous cost (If EDF was producing as much as 12 years ago, Europe would yearly get 150TWh of carbon free power, equivalent to 250TWh of natural gas, or more than 50bnEUR ANNUALLY at current price level).

Despite all the flaws of the nuclear industry, the opinion seems to be shifting in its favour; not because of “net zero”, but because of security of supply and crazy fossil fuel prices. The best example of this is the recent U-turn of Japan and South Korea towards Nuclear.

The nuclear industry is at the crossroads between oblivion and reboot.

We wanted to go beyond that “There is no alternative” message and dig deep into the industry’s challenges, pipe dreams but also real and exciting prospects, such as SMR (Small Modular Reactors) and other innovations. We also wanted to talk geopolitics and the role of Russia in the supply chain.

And there is no better guest than Boris Schucht, CEO of Urenco, to have an open debate on the pod. The Urenco Group is a British-German-Dutch nuclear fuel consortium operating several uranium enrichment-plants in Germany, the Netherlands, United States, and United Kingdom. It supplies nuclear power stations in about 15 countries, and has a 29% share of the global market for enrichment services in 2011

Albert Einstein said that the definition of stupidity is doing the same mistakes all over again while expecting a different outcome. We all would wish that nuclear plays a bigger role, from a climate and security of supply perspectives, but the industry needs to put its act together and deliver results rather than false promises.

We thank our partner Aquila Capital

 

Laurent Segalen's picture
Thank Laurent for the Post!
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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 1, 2022

It's fascinating to see the conversation about nuclear shift during the course of this year based on external factors impacting other energy sources. It truly does highlight the importance of keeping diversity in a wide variety of power types

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