Bright spots for nuclear energy
Dear Participants and Guests of the AtomExpo Forum,
By working together with governments and experts to improve economics and public acceptance, the industry can achieve a future where nuclear energy plays a greatly expanded role in supplying reliable, affordable and clean energy.
There are many bright spots for nuclear energy globally – the recent acceleration of nuclear construction in China is to be applauded, as is the apparent opening up of the Indian market. Reactor new build is at a global high not seen in two decades, and a range of countries actively work towards establishing their nuclear program – such as Turkey, which has just broken ground on its first nuclear power plant.
However in other parts of the world the energy landscape is changing rapidly, bringing with it uncertainty. Renewables continue to get cheaper and, aided by generous support arrangements, they often undermine the viability of existing generating assets. “Breakthroughs” in areas, such as home energy storage systems and smart meters, lead to a re-examining of the need for baseload power like nuclear. In many countries the nuclear industry faces profound challenges – both economic and especially political in nature.
Does the nuclear industry respond to this new reality as threat or an opportunity? What are the innovations and undertakings that will position us to advantage in the new environment, and how soon can we expect to see them?
The secretariat I lead at the World Nuclear Association continues its work to realise opportunities at the international level. We have strengthened our relationship with key energy and policy bodies and now regularly take part in their discourses. We work to make progress on the technical and legal barriers which have long held industry back, such as licensing and radiation standards.
So yes, there are many challenges, but there are also many opportunities facing the nuclear industry today. If industry gets its priorities right, we can expect nuclear energy to play a more important role in the future low-carbon generating mix.