PARIS, 30 November. / Compact nuclear reactors are an important innovation and will be one of the main topics of the World Atomic Expo (WNE) conference, which opened in Paris on Tuesday, former French ambassador to Moscow and WNE chairman Sylvie Bermann told TASS.
"Combined with large reactors, mini-nuclear power plants are the future of energy," Bermann said. "When I was ambassador to Russia, I had the opportunity to visit the Akademik Lomonosov floating nuclear power plant off the coast of Murmansk at the invitation of Rosatom. In general, these mini-reactors are a major innovation, and that is why we decided to devote one day to small modular reactors at WNE-2021," she said. According to Bermann, the very creation of a new technology in this area as nuclear energy shows the dynamics and development of the entire sector. In addition to ease of use at the local level for remote communities, small reactors should replace coal-fired power plants and therefore dramatically reduce the use of fossil fuels, she said. Bermann said that the technology will help reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which are one of the causes of global warming. "Nuclear energy and renewable energy sources are fully compatible and even complement each other in the fight against climate change," she said.
"Do we find nuclear waste in our seas, oceans, on our beaches? No, because the French nuclear industry handles waste responsibly, it is one of the rare industries that manages waste from start to finish," she said, commenting on the claims environmental organizations that have spoken out in connection with the decision of French President Emmanuel Macron to resume the construction of nuclear reactors in the country. Bermann clarified that the waste generated by 58 French nuclear reactors since their commissioning fits into an area equivalent to a football field, with 96% of the materials recyclable. "Indeed, 10% of the waste is the most radioactive and retains its properties over a long period. They require geological storage, that is, at a certain depth, in a certain type of soil. For this, the French National Agency for Radioactive Waste (Andra) has developed the Cigeo project, and is now waiting for the green light from the country's authorities to implement it, "she added.
"WNE is a stunning showcase for the global nuclear industry, the largest trade show for the civilian nuclear industry," said Bermann. "WNE aims to be a place where companies share their experience, collaborate, showcase their innovations and sign contracts. All continents are represented, we expect 612 exhibitors and 18,000 guests from 83 countries. " She added that among the conference participants there will be representatives of the administration of the international thermonuclear reactor ITER, the construction of which was officially started in France last year.
"ITER is a wonderful project. It unites all world developments to create new energy, nuclear fusion, which is a great challenge!" she shared.
The World Atomic Expo (WNE) will take place in Paris from November 30 to December 2. This conference was originally scheduled for 2020 and has been postponed twice due to coronavirus restrictions. According to the latest data, the organizers do not yet expect any changes in the program due to the spread of the new Omicron strain of the coronavirus in the world, and there is no information about the cancellation of visits by foreign delegations.