THE WORKSHOP ON “NUCLEAR ENERGY RENAISSANCE” - Addressing the
Challenges of Climate Change and Sustainability - was successfully
held on 8 MAY 2008 at the National Research Council - Εθνικό Ίδρυμα
Ερευνών in Athens. In this site we include the Chairman’s
introduction to the workshop, its technical program, and all the
INTRODUCTION BY THE WORKSHOP CHAIRMAN
The 21st century has already been termed as the century of grand challenges for all humanity and such critical challenges are global sustainable development and environmental protection.
The European Union is called to take critical decisions in the energy sector, without neglecting its economic and environmental objectives.
The European Union countries must ensure safe and secure energy supply for their citizens and at the same time intensify efforts towards environmental protection, economic growth, creation of new jobs and the fight against climate change.
To tackle such an ambitious undertaking we, the EU, must institute the appropriate legal framework and advance relevant infrastructural tools for the development of a new generation of energy technologies.
For this reason the European Commission has launched an extensive strategic plan for the energy sector technologies, the so called SET plan.
Concerning green house gas emissions reduction, the annual report of the European Commission reveals that although the Union is in a position to achieve its short term goals, new measures must be taken in order to sustain this reduction rate up to and beyond 2020.
It is generally recognized within the EU that in order to sustain a satisfactory reduction rate of Green House Gas emissions generated by the energy sector, we have to expand the use of low carbon emission technologies, such as renewable energy sources, clean coal and safe nuclear energy.
It should be recalled that the EU’s long term energy goals call for at least a 30% nuclear contribution to the electric power mix. The Greek scientific and engineering communities have certain strengths in nuclear technology. Building on these strengths will enable us to fully participate in innovations taking place worldwide in new nuclear power technologies. Without solid domestic nuclear power expertise, Greece cannot examine basic questions regarding the suitability of the nuclear option.
It is well known that in Greece we have very critical public perceptions for nuclear power as well as a strong antinuclear movement; however the international experience demonstrates that the safe and efficient utilization of nuclear power benefits from effective public participation, which leads to strong regulatory institutions and strong safety culture.
Nuclear fission energy can deliver safe, sustainable, competitive and practically carbon-free energy to Europe’s citizens and industries.
Within the framework of the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan), the European Commission’s stakeholders in this field have formulated a collective vision of the contributions this energy could make towards Europe’s transition to a low-carbon energy mix by 2050, with the aim of integrating and expanding R&D capabilities in order to further this objective.
Nuclear energy as a key element in Europe’s future low carbon energy system makes it possible to address simultaneously the following three challenges:
1. Security of supply and lesser dependence on foreign hydrocarbon fuel imports for primary energy,
2. Reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions,
3. Increase of the competitiveness of European industry
It has been observed that in most countries there are fewer comprehensive, high-quality nuclear technology programmes at universities than before and that the ability of universities to attract top-quality students, to meet future staffing requirements of the nuclear industry and to conduct leading-edge research, is becoming seriously compromised.
Thus, education and training in engineering and sciences is one of the cornerstones of Europe’s vision for the development of nuclear energy.
I think that our nation will be called to adopt the nuclear option in its electricity generation mix of energy sources. This is because of our country’s ever increasing need for inexpensive, safe, secure and carbon free electricity generation, which is in turn essential for a sustainable economic growth.
I think that our long term needs for electricity production, hydrogen generation, buildings heating and water desalination would be extremely difficult to address effectively without the introduction of the nuclear technology. Even if no nuclear power plants are ever built in Greece, this is a worthwhile investment for a modern Nation rationally addressing complex energy and environmental issues.
The purpose of this workshop is to initiate a serious and productive dialogue concerning feasibility of development of nuclear energy technology in our country. The organizing committee is of the opinion that regardless of if and when the Greek Government will decide to introduce the nuclear option in its strategic energy policy, we have to start now to develop the required infrastructure - human resources and legal framework – which will enable us to adopt the relevant technology. Without this infrastructure the dialogue, which we are seeking will neither have any real value nor will it yield any benefit to the country or its citizens.
To this end we have designed the program of this workshop to include presentations by renowned experts in various nuclear energy and environmental scientific/technical aspects and related policy issues.
Dr. A.G. YOUTSOS
(click on the presentation title to get the presentation in pdf format)