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NUCLEAR POWER IS A KEY

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The use of nuclear power will need to increase to decarbonise electricity production, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said today at a side event during the United Nations COP25 climate summit in Madrid. Meeting sustainability and climate goals requires a significant use of nuclear energy, he said.

Grossi was speaking at a high-level UN side event at COP25 on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7, to ensure access to affordable and reliable energy. The event - entitled Accelerating the energy transformation in support of sustainable development and the Paris Agreement - focused on initiatives that could have a significant impact towards achieving SDG 7, help close the energy access gap in a sustainable way and promote climate action by transitioning toward zero-carbon energy solutions. It marked Grossi's first official trip since taking office on 3 December.

Nuclear power currently produces about 10% of the world's electricity, but contributes one-third of all low-carbon electricity, Grossi noted. Nuclear power avoids the emission of some 2 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually. "Renewables such as wind and solar power are growing in importance. But these are intermittent energy sources which cannot meet countries' needs on their own," he said. "That means more use of nuclear power will be needed.

"Nuclear power offers a steady, reliable supply of electricity. It can provide continuous, low-carbon power to back up increasing use of renewables. It can be the key that unlocks their potential by providing flexible support - day or night, rain or shine."

Grossi said that nuclear energy and renewables should not be seen as being in competition with one another. "In order to achieve climate change goals and ensure sufficient energy for the future, we need to make use of all available sources of clean energy." If any major users of nuclear power were to cease using it overnight, there would be "very serious consequences" for CO2 emissions.

Thirty countries are currently relying on nuclear power, Grossi noted. "Contrary to many perceptions, use of nuclear power continues to grow." He noted that 37 power reactors have been connected to the grid over the past five years and that a further 55 units are under construction. Four countries are building their first nuclear power plants, with another 25 or so countries actively considering adding nuclear to their energy mix.

"In coming years, technological advances and new funding models are likely to improve the economic attractiveness, safety and cost-effectiveness of nuclear power. For example, small modular reactors could make nuclear power feasible on smaller grids, and in remote settings, and for non-electrical applications."

The nuclear industry, led by World Nuclear Association, has set the Harmony goal for nuclear energy to provide at least 25% of global electricity by 2050. This will require trebling nuclear generation from its present level. Some 1000 GWe of new nuclear generating capacity will need to be constructed by then to achieve that goal. The Association has identified three requirements to achieve this: a level playing field that values reliability and energy security; a harmonised nuclear regulatory environment; and a holistic safety paradigm for the entire electricity system.

Vladimir Vinogradov's picture

Thank Vladimir for the Post!

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WOGNEWS
WOGNEWS, Global Energy Market News is a publicly available information portal about the global energy market and industry. The portal contains information in text, video and photo formats since January, 2014.

Discussions

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Dec 13, 2019 12:13 pm GMT

"Nuclear power offers a steady, reliable supply of electricity. It can provide continuous, low-carbon power to back up increasing use of renewables. It can be the key that unlocks their potential by providing flexible support - day or night, rain or shine."

A great reason why a lot of the focus on maximizing the flexibility of nuclear is a valuable and worthwhile venture!

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Dec 13, 2019 5:24 pm GMT

The nuclear industry, led by World Nuclear Association, has set the Harmony goal for nuclear energy to provide at least 25% of global electricity by 2050. This will require trebling nuclear generation from its present level

Sounds nice... but there will need to be radical changes for that to occur.

Nuclear generation first needs to get back to its 2006 peak.   Two new reactors started construction in 2019. Two.  

Only 12 new reactors started constuction the previous 3 years.

Five reactors shut down this year. The arithmetic is not looking good.

Vladimir Vinogradov's picture
Vladimir Vinogradov on Dec 15, 2019 5:53 pm GMT

Joe, forecast for nuclear power looks  better https://wognews.net/news/2019/12/clean-nuclear-power

 

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Dec 16, 2019 9:05 pm GMT

Vladimir,

Thanks for that.

Some comments:

Here is chart from your linked article:

- Note that chart is capacity - while mine is generation.

- Hard to tell exactly but looks like they are predicting about 525GW of  nuclear capacity by 2030.

Currently there is about 400GW in WW nuclear capacity and there is about 50GW under construction. That would get us to 450GW.  However, you get that only if you ignore shutdowns. If we assume a conservative 25GW of shutdowns in next decade that would leave us at 425GW.

So, in order to get to the 525GW shown on your linked chart - another 100GW would have to start and finish construction by 2030.  It has been taking on average 7 years to complete a plant.  

So, this means that 100GW will need to start construction by 2023 in order to be complete by 2030. Is that likely?

As I said earlier, two plants (2.2GW) have started construction so far in 2019.

 

 

Vladimir Vinogradov's picture
Vladimir Vinogradov on Dec 17, 2019 7:02 am GMT

Joe, it's possible, I hope. 

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