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    July 1, 2024

    Nuclear energy as climate savior?


    Nuclear Energy 1

    Electrical energy demand is expected to rise exponentially as nations pursue sustainability agendas, relying on all things electric, including electric vehicles (EVs). However, EVs can only be considered totally green if their power comes from renewable and clean energy sources. 
    Despite a 50% increase in renewable capacity last year, this is insufficient to meet the appropriate targets by 2030. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) states that annual growth in renewable capacity would have to be more than double of the record set in 2023.

    Renewable energies generated by solar and wind power are intermittent by nature, meaning that when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow, no power is generated.
    Nuclear power is an energy source that does not emit carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases and can balance the grid when solar and wind are insufficient. The risks with radioactivity, both during operation of the power plants and handling of the waste, have limited the wish to develop and expand such plants in many countries, especially after experiencing the disasters in Chernobyl and Fukushima

    Still, some countries now have ambitious nuclear plans, including UK, France, China and USA. But as nuclear power plant projects face challenges with high upfront costs, long lead times and often poor records of on-time delivery, it is now growing focus on small modular reactors (SMRs) as a potential solution. Modern advanced reactors have a power capacity of about one-third of traditional reactors. SMRs are more affordable, easier and faster to construct. They can even be factory-built and transported to their final location in a modular fashion.

    So, several other countries are now investing heavily in SMR technologies and one can perhaps only hope that this may lead to significant contribution to the global need for electricity.

    Further information may be seen for example here,

    (Article is based primarily on article in IEC e-tech issue 03/2024 and edited by T.Sollie)

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