OUR GREAT MINDS

    by Tina Olivero

    The 24th World Energy Congress Taking Place in Abu Dhabi

    The importance of nuclear energy for the transition towards a clean and affordable energy system is being highlighted at the 24th World Energy Congress, taking place this week in Abu Dhabi.

    A panel of industry leaders shared their vision of the bright future for nuclear at a session titled A new dawn for nuclear energy. Mohamed Al Hammadi, CEO of Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation said that nuclear technologies are ‘proven, economically viable, safe and clean’.

    Discussions at the Congress follow the publication of key reports from leading expert institutions, all highlighting the crucial need for nuclear to grow if the world is serious about climate change and decarbonising the economy. In its ‘Nuclear Energy in a Clean Energy System’ report released earlier this year, the International Energy Agency concluded that without an expanded contribution from nuclear energy, “the already huge challenge of achieving emissions reductions will become drastically harder and more costly.”

    At the Congress, the World Energy Council launched a report on ‘The future of nuclear’ as part of its World Energy Scenarios 2019. The report recognises the “increasing and widespread recognition that nuclear energy will feature in the future global energy mix and make its contribution to sustainable development”, and shows an increase of nuclear energy in all scenarios.

    The nuclear industry, led by World Nuclear Association, has set the Harmony goal for nuclear energy to provide at least 25% of global electricity before 2050. This will require trebling nuclear generation from its present level, with some 1000 GWe of new nuclear generating capacity needing to be constructed to achieve this goal.

    World Nuclear Association released today a white paper, titled ‘The Silent Giant: The need for nuclear in a clean energy system’, noting that the use of nuclear energy “is the fast track to a high-powered and clean energy system, which not only delivers a healthier environment and an affordable supply of electricity, but also strengthens energy security and helps mitigate climate change.”

    At the launch of the white paper, Agneta Rising, Director-General, World Nuclear Association said:

    “Nuclear reactors are the low-carbon backbone of electricity systems, operating in the background, day in and day out, often out of sight and out of mind. Capable of generating immense amounts of clean power, they are the silent giants upon which we rely daily.”

    “We are confident that policymakers will reflect on the latest landmark reports and messages and put in place the right policies to transition to a clean electricity system to which nuclear energy contributes fully”.

    Achieving sustainable energy, designed to provide present and future generations with clean energy without harming the environment, is real, but its formation requires a decisive transformation of the global energy system, which implies the development of an appropriate technological base, the unified political will of different states and stable international cooperation. The ways to achieve a sustainable future along with challenges to overcome, were considered today by the participants of the session: ‘Mission possible: the Global Energy Prize as a driver for sustainable energy for all’ at the 24th World Energy Congress (Abu Dhabi, UAE).

    In 2018 the volume of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere reached a historic maximum. According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), China with 9.4 billion tons / year (28% of global emissions) opens the top three among the main emitters of harmful substances into the atmosphere, followed by the United States – 5.1 billion tons / year (15%) and India – 2.5 billion tons / year (7.3%). An analysis of the amount of energy generated in 2018 shows that only 36% came from low-carbon technologies. The growth in this indicator compared to a year earlier is less than 1%, which cannot be considered as a satisfactory result. Moreover, in 2018, the volume of electricity generated from coal increased and for the first time crossed a record level of 10 PWh. Session experts see the reason for this in the global fragmentation of the environmental policies of countries, despite the commitment of world powers to counteract the rise in global temperature. According to the report on sustainable development for 2019 provided by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), developed countries are showing good results in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals on economic growth and health, but they are not concerned about the issue of environmentally friendly consumption of resources.

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