Skip to main content

G8 Gives Nuclear a Nudge

Some interesting movements at the G8 Energy Ministers’ Meeting this week in Rome.

The energy ministers of the G8 countries offered their thoughts on nuclear’s role in energy security and emissions reductions.

In a joint statement with the European Energy Commissioner, the G8 energy ministers called for international cooperation on nuclear energy:

“…We encourage all countries interested in the civil use of nuclear energy to engage in constructive international collaboration. To this end we support international co-operation to ensure the highest possible available technical standards…”

In another joint statement from the G8 energy ministers; the European energy commissioner; and the energy ministers of Brazil, China, Egypt, India, South Korea, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and South Africa recognized the importance of nuclear power for “those of us interested.”

Perhaps most compelling was an IEA background paper prepared for the conference, “The Impact of the Financial and Economic Crisis on Global Energy Investments.” This document duly notes that

“Nuclear technology is the only large-scale, base-load electricity production technology with a near zero carbon footprint, apart from hydro power (where potential is often limited).”

Ok. Some rather interesting verbiage, but what’s the big deal?

Answer: The people behind the announcements and the timing. The G8 Energy ministers are a powerful bunch and the stated, #1 objective of the G8 Energy Ministers’ meeting was “to define common strategies to cope with global climate change.” 

Next week, preparatory negotiations for the U.N. climate change conference in Copenhagen are set to begin in Bonn, Germany. Then, it’s on to the full G8 meeting in Italy this July. It’s too early to tell what, if any, effect these joint statements might have on the climate change or G8 talks, but the timing couldn’t be better.

Oh, and about that European Energy Commissioner, it’s Andris Piebalgs. And he has a very interesting blog post here on nuclear power’s role in Europe’s energy portfolio. At “more than a third” of EU electricity supply, it plays no minor role. And it’s sure to continue to play a role as Europe continues to fret about secure, low-carbon energy supplies.

The open question is whether this will have an knock-on effect outside the G8. It should be an interesting summer.     

Written by Thaddeus Swanek

Comments

Anonymous said…
People are starting to finally "get it." For those who don't read this short article. It explains how, quite simply, there is no alternative to nuclear.
http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm?aid=340&idli=3

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…