N-power strong contender for clean energy - GulfToday

N-power strong contender for clean energy

Nuclear energy is the way forward towards an emission-free future.

Nuclear energy is the way forward for an emission-free future.

For a long time, the emphasis on clean energy in the battle against climate crisis turned on the non-conventional energy resources like solar, wind and hydro. Though nuclear power was a popular option for efficient and continuous power production in the post-Second World War decade of the 1950s and 1960s, there have been reservations about it because of the nuclear waste and how to handle it. Radiation was seen as the biggest threat.

And ever since major nuclear reactors accidents like the Three-Mile Island in the 1970s, Chernobyl in the 1980s and the Fukushima in 2011, the apprehensions about safety at nuclear reactions had only grown. But many of the countries in Europe like France and Germany had turned to nuclear reactors to produce electricity. Germany however had taken a decision at the turn of the 21st century to decommission nuclear reactors. But now the option of nuclear power as an alternative and cleaner source of energy has gained renewed force.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has opened a pavilion at the ongoing COP28 summit in  Dubai, and the agency is pushing for the nuclear option. IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi has issued an IAEA statement making out a case for nuclear power as a way to get to clean energy.

 The IAEA statement said, “Resilient and robust nuclear power has the potential to play a wider role in the quest towards net zero carbon emissions, while ensuring the highest level of nuclear safety and security.” It is for the first time that the IAEA has stepped forward to lay the claims of the option of nuclear power as a low-carbon energy source.

It has also said that the net-zero target of 2050 can only be reached if nuclear power is stepped up effectively.  As of now, there are 462 nuclear reactors all over the world and they generate 10 per cent of the world’s electricity and contribute 25 per cent of the low-carbon energy.

Twenty-two countries have signed a declaration to triple nuclear power generation of the 2020 levels. The declaration said it “recognises the key role of nuclear energy in achieving global net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and keeping the 1.5 degree (curbing the temperature at 1.5 degrees Celsius of the pre-industrial level) goal within reach.” Among the signatories of the declaration are the United Arab Emirates, United States, United Kingdom, China, Japan, Ghana, Ukraine, Slovakia, Sweden and Finland.

Meanwhile, the UAE’s Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bill Gates’ advanced nuclear reactor company Terra Power to expand UAE’s nuclear capacity and to build nuclear reactors in the UAE and other countries. CEO of ENEC Mohamed Al Hammadi said, “For the UAE, we are looking for a future for the clean electrons and molecules that will be brought to reality by advanced reactors.”  Terra Power President and CEO Chris Levesque said, “Bringing advanced nuclear technologies to market is critical to meeting global decarbonisation targets.”

There is then a strong initiative to bring nuclear power as one of the options to meet the growing energy needs of the world while establishing the clean energy sources. Nuclear power will not be able to meet the total demand but it will meet a significant chunk of it. The initial investment in building a nuclear reactor is very high but its cost per unit will go down as the years pass. The UAE is the first Arab country to opt for a nuclear reactor in its bid to diversify its energy sources. There is a new reactor being built in Saudi Arabia and the two countries are cooperating with each other on the Saudi project.

Related articles