Future of Nuclear Energy Discussed at Atomexpo-2017
23 June 2017 | Rusatom Overseas Press Service
The workshop Nuclear energy: the energy of the future or a relic of the past? took place on 19 June 2017 as per the business programme of the Atomexpo-2017 International Forum, this year celebrated for the ninth time.
The workshop was attended by leading international energy experts from more than ten countries, Russian and foreign scientists, government officials.
The workshop was moderated by Tom Blees, President of Science Council for Global Initiatives. In his introductory speech, he drew participants’ attention to the growing importance of renewable energy sources, suggested talking about the perspectives the atomic energy had in those new conditions and the possibilities of synergy between atomic and renewable energy.
Several experts agreed that solar and wind power have been growing popular. Mikhail Chudakov, Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy at IAEA, commented that renewable energy sources were convenient to use only when there was a steady base load in the country.
Stepan Solzhenitsyn, Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, noted that using a single source of energy was a thing of the past. Today, countries have to draw power from several sources in order to diversify their energy balance, maintain its safety and reliability.
Evgeny Adamov, Head of the Proryv Project and Scientific Leader at NIKIET, a member of the Russian Academy of Engineering, believes that atomic energy itself is renewable. ‘Before discarding the nuclear energy, every risk and, more importantly, every cost such decision entails are to be thoroughly assessed’, Mr Adamov told.
When the advantages of solar, wind and water energy were being discussed, Kristiina Söderholm, Head of Nuclear R&D at the Fortum Company, stressed that nuclear energy was developing, too, and spoke about small power reactors. Such reactors are faster and cheaper to deploy, and they are designed with updating in mind. Dr. Söderholm said small power reactors were relatively new on the market, and several pressing matters related to them were yet unresolved. She stressed it was important to make the licensing process for small reactors more transparent. ‘Licensing matters are of the utmost importance. There are a lot of regulatory authorities with different requirements; they are still discrepant and sometimes unclear’, Dr. Söderholm told.
Evgeny Pakermanov, President of Rusatom Overseas, said rapid development of renewable energy sources signaled upcoming changes in the global energy sector: nuclear energy and renewable energy are to constitute the basis for a carbon-free economy. We are progressing towards inherently safe reactor designs, such as to provide uninterrupted energy to future generations.
All speakers agreed it was important to develop efficient combinations of nuclear and renewable energy sources in order to keep national grids steady, the power feasible, and the environmental impact minimal.
The ninth session of the Atomexpo-2017 International Forum was attended by 6.5 participants from 65 countries, including the Russian Federation and the four countries that took part in the Forum for the first time: Columbia, Sudan, Sri Lanka and Ethiopia. Thirty three official government delegations attended the Forum along with representatives of a hundred companies working in the atomic sector and the related industries. The Forum’s business programme included thirteen topical workshops. This year, the Forum’s principal topic was Nuclear technology — safety, ecology, stability.