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Pragmatism to be above Fukushima syndrome - analysts

November 18, 2011, 12:09 UTC+3

In the long run, prices for energy sources will be growing, the world will face growing concerns about energy security, fighting climate changes will become more complicated

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MOSCOW, November 18 (Itar-Tass) —— Despite the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, human pragmatism will take over and the world’s nuclear energy will develop actively, Chairman of the State Duma’s committee on energy Yuri Lipatov told Itar-Tass on Friday commenting on the report from the International Energy Agency /IEA/.

The IEA experts calculated that the share of nuclear energy in the world’s generation of electricity will grow by 2035 to 70 percent, which is slightly less than it had been forecasted before the Fukushima catastrophe. The experts say that if the world faces massive rejection from nuclear energy, then, from one hand, it will favour conditions for renewable sources of energy, but, on the other hand, it will favour growing demand for mineral fuel. Thus, growing global demand for coal will be twice above Australia’s export of energy coals, and growing demand for gas will make two thirds of Russia’s current export of natural gas.

In the long run, prices for energy sources will be growing, the world will face growing concerns about energy security, fighting climate changes will become more complicated, and its expenses will grow, the report reads. Possible consequences will be especially complicated for the countries, which, having limited deposits of national energy resources, have planned to use actively nuclear energy. Besides, it will become more complicated for countries with fast-growing economies to satisfy their growing demand in electric energy.

“I agree with the statement, and pragmatism of people of modern knowledge is taking over,” Lipatov said. “After Chernobyl many people said that development of nuclear energy will bring mankind to apocalypses, but this never happened.”

“We do not see a ‘wave of refusals’ from nuclear energy after the events at Fukushima,” he continued. “The power plants both Chernobyl and Fukushima used technologies of 1960-70s, while modern technologies offer 95-98 percent safety.”

Lipatov suggests waiting for several years to see with what Germany will replace its nuclear power plants in line with its announcement to refuse from nuclear energy.

“Yes, Germany has announced it refuses from nuclear energy – the greens take over the bundestag and Angela Merkel’s party has to obey,” Lipatov said. “Germany’s share of nuclear energy makes 23 percent of the total generation, and it will not be able to reimburse a lack with alternative sources of energy. What will they prefer: gas? Let’s see in a few years.”

Head of the Centre of energy policy at the Institute of Europe of Russia’s Academy of Sciences Alexei Khaitun compares replacement of nuclear energy by Russia’s gas with a needle for a drug addict.

“European countries should diversify their sources of energy,” he said giving as an example shale gas, which the USA plans to be using.

“Anyway, it is impossible to be expecting a global refusal from nuclear energy, as both Europe and we have winter, and everyone wants to leave with heating and light,” Khaitun said.

Analyst of Renaissance Capital investment group Vladimir Sklyar says that “refusing from nuclear energy is unwise, which is also confirmed in the forecast of the International Energy Agency.”

“Right now, Europe faces two energy issues: first of all, energy security, which is stable and on-going supplies from various parts of the world, which do not threaten normal economic development, and, secondly, the global heating. Russia has not been discussing this question very actively, while for the European Union it is one of most vital questions.”

This is why European countries try to lower emission of greenhouse gases.

“And in this situation, it is not correct to refuse from nuclear electric energy and to focus on, for example, development of coal generation as a main source of primary fuel, because this is the reason of global heating,” the expert said.

Gas is another problematic alternative for NPPs, he continued.

“Here everything is rather complicated and mixed with politics, where countries care about avoiding a too big dependence from one of fuel suppliers,” Sklyar said.

As for renewable sources, Sklyar says that “now their short-term potential is exhausted: in places, where cellular batteries or hydro electric power plants were possible, they do exist already, and further growth of their share is rather problematic and may cause big expenses.”

“Thus, nuclear generation is the only smart and logic way out from scientific and economic points of view. Even from the humanitarian point of view, nuclear generation remains one of most safe sources of energy,” he said. “No doubt that mankind cannot afford refuse from this source of fuel to the moment, where we have more effective kinds of renewable sources of electric energy.”

Sklyar said that some European countries “share a populist moment, where following the pressure from the green the nuclear generation is not favoured by the government.”

“However, if we consider the entire European Union, it is clear that more farseeing governments, which choose not to follow immediate populist demands from the green to close all nuclear power plants, build up shares of nuclear powr plants. For example, the Czech Republic wants to build 15 blocks within 30 years, Poland is getting ready to supply 3,000 mega watts of nuclear generation by 2020 and by 2025 – the same amount. Many countries have plans concerning construction of electric energy facilities,” Sklyar said.

“”By having refused from its own nuclear generation, Germany now will have to buy the same electric energy, produced at nuclear power plants, in the Czech Republic, and later on – produced at the nuclear power plant in the Kaliningrad Region,” he said. “So, considering the entire continent, it is clear that in nuclear generations some countries are being replaced by other countries.”


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