“Carbon Free Energy as the Energy of the Future” panel session took place on 18 July, 2017. The session was held during the Nuclear Week that is being held by ROSATOM in the Russian Pavilion at EXPO-2017 in Astana (Kazakhstan).
Among the participants of the discussion was Kirill Komarov, First Deputy CEO for Corporate Development and International Business of ROSATOM; Dominique Miniere, Senior Executive Vice President of EDF; Helmut Engelbrecht, Chair of the Board at the World Nuclear Association; Al Hammadi, Сhief Executive Officer of ENEC (Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation); Takuya Hattori, Counsellor, ex-President of Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, and other experts.
The speakers expressed their view on nuclear power as an element of low carbon balance of as crucial importance as solar and wind power.
“Everybody remembers the decision of the Paris Climate Conference declaring the consolidation of efforts of most countries to create green energy future,” noted Kirill Komarov. “Now it is necessary to deal with details because when talking about clean energy people think of solar, wind and hydropower, though they do not always remember nuclear power which is undoubtedly a part of the green energy mix. Clean energy types should not compete they should be used in combination.” According to K. Komarov, scientists think that the normal share of renewable sources in the national energy mix should not exceed 40%. “This is not an absolute figure but we should determine a place for each source of power generation. We believe the construction of 1000GW power plants by 2050 to be a realistic target.”
Luis Echavarri, the former Director-General of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), pointed out that it is necessary to develop RES though at the same time it is necessary to ensure the base load.
“The share of nuclear power in the global energy mix is 11%,” said Helmut Engelbrecht, Chair of the Board at the World Nuclear Association. “If we construct NPPs as we did it in the 1970s-1980s, we will be able to meet 25% of global energy consumption by 2050.” He also stressed that it is important to follow the international rules for the use of nuclear power including obtainment of approval of nuclear facility constructions from adjacent countries.
In his turn, Takuya Hattori, Counsellor, ex-President of Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, stated 3 main principles of nuclear power development: energy security, environment security and cost efficiency. Considering the fact that 100% of power is imported to Japan from abroad, “everybody understands that we need nuclear power”. “Public attitude is negative, but we make gradual progress in this direction.” Takuya Hattori emphasized the significance of efforts in the area of public acceptance. According to Mr. Hattori, Japan has set a target of 30% share of nuclear power in the national energy mix by 2030 while commissioning of 10 more reactors is scheduled by the end of 2017. He also noted that Japan has plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 26% before 2030.
Tom Blees, President at the Science Council for Global Initiatives, drew attention to the prospective rise of power demand. He noted that according to the experts the energy consumption will increase by 30% by 2040 while this forecast is given exclusive of energy demands for desalination, charging of electric cars and electromotor systems for airplanes.
Talking about nuclear power, Kirill Komarov noted that this is a reliable and predictable power source for the economy development providing clear conditions that may be forecasted for 60 years ahead and low volatility because the commodity component in the cost of energy generated at NPPs is very low - below 3%. “For comparison, the cost of the fuel for gas and coal plants amounts to 60-70%.”
The experts participating in the panel session agreed that nuclear power will play a significant role in the future energy mix. Nuclear power ensures a long term price guarantee and reliable base load without greenhouse gas emissions, while being independent on weather conditions and geographic location. The experts also noted the necessity of gaining public acceptance as one of the conditions for nuclear power development.