During the Power & Electricity World Africa 2020 conference on 6 November, the senior advisor to the director general of World Nuclear Association Mr Philippe Costes, addressed the participants with the following information:
“Nuclear power is enjoying a sustained growth in capacity at the fastest rate in 25 years. A lot of that growth is and will take place in China and India, where nuclear is directly avoiding some fossil use. Many countries are introducing it for the first time – Bangladesh, Belarus, the UAE and Turkey. They are already in the process of building their first reactors and many more countries, especially in Africa, are considering nuclear for their electricity needs.”Mr Philippe Costes
Electricity has to be continuous for households as well as to sustain strong industrial and economic development. Given the urgent need to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and limit climate change, all policymakers from around the globe need to consider nuclear energy option into their respective energy transition plan and re-enact policies to maximize the direct benefits of nuclear energy including socio-economic, environmental and public health benefits. Currently, nuclear energy’s contribution is 10% to global electricity supply from 450 operational reactors in 30 countries around the world, and also being explored as an option for sustainable source into the energy mix. However, despite its benefits and attributes, the nuclear sector faces an undeniable challenge of “a strong misconception” related to radiation and its impact on humans and the environment. Mr Costes explained that the facts showing “the nuclear industry having the best track record in terms of fatalities per terawatt hour, far lower than any other source of energy (renewable and conventional)“. The report by United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) on the Chernobyl nuclear accident presents less than 100 deaths and the Fukushima accident caused zero deaths (from direct exposure of radiation).
Mr. Costes also implied that only hydro and nuclear are the main contributors to avoiding CO2 emissions, despite billions of invests in renewables around the globe. Mr. Costes also claimed that from “1970 until now (50 years), hydro and nuclear helped avoid the emission of 170 Gigatonnes equivalent of CO2 emissions” while less than 15 gigatonnes from all other low-CO2 sources that have been developing since the 1990s.
Mr. Costes stated the need to accelerate the implementation of the 108 reactor projects which are either planned or under construction, as well as unlock finances in order to maintain the long-time operation of the 290 reactors which have been operational for 30+ years. He recommends that developing countries should “encourage the multilateral banks to reconsider nuclear and adopt a technology neutral approach for low-carbon solutions”, and also the implement appropriate frameworks that will drive investment and provide better value for consumers.
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