“We remember what the World Nuclear Association said: to act on the behest of the Paris summit of 1.5 degrees Celsius, we need to have 20 to 25 % of our electricity produced by nuclear power,“ Mikhaïl Chudakov, the IAEA’s Deputy Director and Head of the Nuclear Power Department told a session of the Russian Energy Week.
“What’s more, we are losing because people don’t believe in it and are not developing nuclear power,” he told the session entitled “Small-scale nuclear power, providing energy for regions and industry. ”We are already losing the battle for net-zero in 2050.”
Chudakov noted that the world-wide capacity of nuclear power stood at about 396 GW, with 444 reactors in operation. Nuclear stations account for 10 % of generated electricity – but about one-third of low-carbon energy.
According to the IAEA’s optimistic forecast, world-wide installed capacity of nuclear power stations by 2050 could reach 750 GW – but in terms of the energy balance, given the growth of other energy sources, it would remain at 10 % of the energy balance. Under a pessimistic forecast, the capacity of nuclear stations world-wide would decline to 360 GW.
Chudakov said that developing only renewable energy sources would be insufficient to contain global warming.
“Of course, this cannot be done by forests of wind turbines and fields of solar panels,” he told the gathering.
Renewables, he said, must be combined with nuclear power with its low, stable and predictable cost of generated electricity. And the cost of fuel in terms of the price of a kilowatt-hour amounts to 8 % with a nuclear power station, while that cost exceeds 50 % in the hydrocarbon sector.
And nuclear stations can help produce hydrogen, Chudakov said.
“Nuclear power is totally adaptable for producing hydrogen, even through electrolysis,” he said. And world-wide interest was growing in small modular reactors, he said, as they are less costly and more suitable for remote or isolated areas and can operate with an eased burden of infrastructure.