Tom Blees: abundant environmentally-benign energy is the key to not only global poverty, but to the existential threat of climate change
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Tom Blees, member of the Global Energy Prize International Award Committee and President of the Science Council for Global Initiatives (SCGI) addressed the international online youth conference NEXT75, organised by Rosatom, Russia’s nuclear power authority.

The NEXT75 conference was devoted to global challenges of the future as well as current problems faced by humanity. The aim – as proclaimed by the organisers – is to bring young people into a dialogue with prominent experts – academics, public figures, opinion leaders. Participants in the online conference discussed the problems and threats posed by global climate change, the shortage of resources, new pandemics and mass migration. 

    In his address, Tom Blees spoke of the prospects for widespread use of autonomous power stations on ships using molten salt reactors (MSRs).

    The president of the SCGI said the cost of construction of such vessels amounted to less than a dollar per watt, making them cheaper than any energy source in the world.

    “…Just using currently unused shipping capacity around the world, as many as 400 gigawatts of such ship-borne power plants could be built every year,” Blees told the gathering. “At that rate, in just 10 years, all the world’s existing electrical generation capacity – from all sources – could be replaced with this system’s clean and inexpensive energy.”

    Blees said developing this safe technology would not only help start an effective campaign against climate change but also bring about the principle of “global energy equality” – providing accessible, inexpensive power for all consumers.

    MSR technology, he said, had distinct advantages over solar and wind energy.

    “So let’s assume that we want to provide as much energy to everyone on Earth as half the average consumption of a typical citizen of the United States,” Blees told participants. “in order to do that with windmills and solar panels, we would have to cover an area the size of South America with them!”

    At the same time, he said, “energy ships” pay for themselves within a year or so by selling electricity at cheap rates as well as sharply reducing world demand for fuel from hydrocarbons. 

    He cited as a successful project the Akademik Lomonosov, Russia’s floating nuclear power station, which was put into commercial operation in May 2020.

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