Over the next 50 years mankind will consume more energy than it has been consumed in the entire preceding history. Early predictions about the growth of energy consumption and development of new power technologies have not come true: the level of consumption is growing much faster, while new sources of energy will become widely accessible at affordable prices no later than 2030. Lack of fossil fuels is becoming more relevant than ever. The opportunities of constructing new hydroelectric power stations is also quite limited. We should not forget about activities aimed at combating greenhouse gases which impose restrictions on the burning of oil, gas and coal at thermal power plants.
The active development of nuclear power – one of the youngest and fastest growing sectors of the global economy – may be the solution. More and more countries now come to understand the need to start developing peaceful nuclear energy.
Great Energy Capacity
Upon full burn-up, 1 kg of uranium enriched up to 4 % (which is used in nuclear fuel) releases energy equivalent to that obtained as a result of burning of about 100 tons of high quality bituminous coal or 60 tons of oil.
The fissile material (Uranium-235) is not completely burned out in the nuclear fuel and can be reused following regeneration (as opposed to ash and fossil fuel burnouts). In the future, complete transition to closed fuel cycle is possible (meaning that no waste will be generated).
Reducing Greenhouse Gases
The intensive development of nuclear energy can be considered as a means to combat global warming. Every year nuclear power plants in Europe allow to avoid the emission of 700 million tons of CO2, and those in Japan allow to avoid the emission of 270 million tons of CO2. Active Russian nuclear power plants annually prevent the emission of 210 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In this respect, Russia ranks fourth in the world.
Construction of nuclear power plants provides economic growth and creates new jobs: 1 job in nuclear power plant construction creates 10–15 jobs in related sectors. The development of nuclear energy contributes to the growth of research and national intellectual potential.