Strategic Energy Technologies Information System
Rate this magazine: 
Average: 1.8 (9 votes)

The need to decarbonise the energy system and to slow down climate change is too urgent: we simply cannot afford to exclude any available or envisaged low-carbon technology from the portfolio. As the environmentalist James Lovelock put it a few years ago: "Now that we've made the earth sick it won't be cured by alternative Green remedies like wind turbines or biofuels, and this is why I recommend the appropriate medicine of nuclear energy as a part of a sensible portfolio of energy sources". All technologies can help, if they are developed and used with the twin goals of sustainability and safety kept in mind. It is unlikely that renewable technologies such as those exploiting the sun, wind or oceans as energy sources can completely replace fossil fuels within the next couple of decades. Moreover, the exclusive use of renewable energy would necessarily require the simultaneous implementation of new transmission and storage systems, which are very valuable technologies, but still under development and altogether very costly. In other words, achieving a low-carbon energy economy over the next couple of decades would be very difficult without nuclear energy acting as base-load, with renewables on top: the combination of nuclear and renewables will guarantee a strong energy system. Nuclear energy has the big advantage of being a low-carbon technology that already exists and guarantees high energy output (to produce as much electricity as nuclear plants currently produce in France, half of Belgium would need to be densely covered with wind turbines). Furthermore, nuclear produces energy at a constant rate and at stable, predictable and competitive prices.

Other articles

NUGENIA is an international non-profit organisation set up under Belgian law to promote R&D on Gen II & III nuclear reactors. The organisation was formally established in November 2011 and is one of the three pillars of the Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform (SNETP). Its over 100 member organisations include nuclear power plant (NPP) operators, nuclear reactor vendors, research institutes...

Six nuclear reactor concepts – referred to as Generation IV - are being developed internationally, all of which operate at higher temperatures than today’s reactors and make significant advances in the sustainability, economics, safety, reliability and proliferation-resistance of nuclear technology.

Nuclear energy is an excellent source of process heat for various industrial applications, including district heating, seawater desalination, oil refining and the production of hydrogen with ensuing processes for synthetic and unconventional oil production and applications in the fertilizer or steel industry. As such, nuclear cogeneration offers an innovative solution to the dual challenge of mitigating CO2 emissions...

Nuclear energy currently accounts for slightly less than 30% of the electricity consumed in the EU. This electricity is mainly stable and reliable base load that is secure from a supply perspective, CO2 free, and competitively priced. As a result, nuclear energy is already a positive contributor to the EU economy in terms of growth and jobs.

Learning from the past and from each other's' experience is a common process used within industries where a very high reliability is requested. Today nearly 440 nuclear reactors produce electricity around the world. In the European Union, nuclear power accounts for almost 30% of total electricity production.

Radioactive waste is produced at all stages in the nuclear fuel cycle, requiring the development of technologies for its safe management and disposal at each step. This means isolating or diluting the waste, so that the concentration of any radionuclides, and the rate of their release into the biosphere, is rendered harmless.