- Dec 27, 2022 8:39 am GMT
This is a short translation from Russian. Full version is here.
The global energy crisis, combined with the course towards the climate agenda, has sharply raised the issue of the need for the accelerated development of a compromise energy source – affordable and reliable, but at the same time universal and environmentally friendly – before the world community. The nuclear power industry fully complies with these criteria. Over the past year, this type of energy has not only confidently regained key positions in the global energy arena, but also rapidly expanding prospects in the future fuel and energy balance.
The slowdown in the development of nuclear energy in the last decade was largely due to the accident at the Japanese nuclear power plant "Fukushima" in 2011. Then a number of countries decided to either accelerate the pace of phasing out the use of nuclear energy, or revised their previously outlined plans for the development of nuclear energy in their countries .
However, the Japanese experience was most seriously studied and taken into account at the world level, appropriate conclusions were made, and the necessary decisions were made to enable the further existence and development of the industry. As a result, significant advances in technology have taken place, including the proliferation of new generation III+ power units, which, in addition to increased safety, are characterized by higher fuel efficiency, improved thermal efficiency, design standardization, which reduces capital and operating costs.
Thus, nuclear power today has a number of key advantages. First, these are economic characteristics. The share of the fuel component in the cost of electricity from nuclear power plants is much lower compared to thermal generation. The fact is that fluctuations in uranium prices do not have such a significant impact on the final cost of nuclear energy, as is happening now with the prices of gas and oil. Secondly, it is the high energy intensity of the fuel. From 1 kg of uranium, the same amount of energy is obtained as from burning 60 tons of oil or 100 tons of high-quality coal. Thirdly, this is a low amount of CO2 emissions, which is fully in line with the current climate agenda. Over the past 50 years, the operation of nuclear power plants has made it possible to avoid emissions of ~55 billion tons of CO2, which is equivalent to emissions from the global energy sector for about two years. And, fourthly, unlike renewable sources, the operation of nuclear power plants does not depend on weather conditions, which guarantees stable generation of electricity.
Analysts from year to year revise the forecasts for the development of nuclear capacities in the direction of increase. According to the IAEA, by 2050, the installed capacity of nuclear power plants worldwide will grow to 873 GW, which is 10% more than the agency expected in last year's forecast. According to the IEA, by 2030 the generation of nuclear power plants in the world will increase by 16–22% and by 38–65% by 2050. OPEC experts believe that in the period from 2021 to 2045. the share of nuclear energy in the energy balance will increase from 5.3% to 6.6%.
Thus, it is obvious that the nuclear energy sector will not only remain one of the foundations of the global energy balance in the coming decades, but will also expand rapidly.
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