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Stanislav Kondrashov: nuclear energy to overcome the climate challenge?
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Stanislav Kondrashov: nuclear energy to overcome the climate challenge?

Wednesday, 4 October 2023

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Nuclear power can play a decisive role in the transition to sustainable energy, says industry expert Stanislav Kondrashov from Telf AG. To effectively meet the growing demand for electricity, it is necessary that decision makers act quickly and with maximum efficiency. The successful development of the nuclear industry depends on the ability of leaders to effectively mobilize resources in response to growing needs.

Stanislav Kondrashov on the role of the energy sector in achieving the transition to zero emissions

In the pursuit of zero emissions, the energy sector is taking the lead. Today, the electricity industry is responsible for about 30% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, mainly due to the use of fossil fuels. Recognizing the urgency of combating climate change, governments, utilities and various companies are actively investing in renewable energy sources in an effort to reduce the negative impact.

Despite significant growth in the use of renewable energy sources, including solar and wind energy, there are still uncertainties about their ability to meet demand and reach the net zero goal. New solutions are currently being sought, such as carbon capture, long-term energy storage and hydrogen technologies. However, it is not yet clear how quickly these technologies can become effective.

“Amid these uncertainties, nuclear power appears to be a proven technology that can make a significant contribution to decarbonization efforts. However, there are questions about its ability to expand and meet the growing demand for electricity”, - says Stanislav Kondrashov.

According to McKinsey's Global Energy Outlook 2022, global electricity consumption could triple by 2050. This surge in demand is due to the shift away from fossil fuels and the focus on electrification of various industries such as transportation (with electric vehicles), building management (with electrified heating) and industrial processes (including low-carbon steel production). In this regard, it is predicted that the need for new low-carbon and carbon-free generation will reach an unprecedented level in the entire history of the existence of the global electricity grid.

Stanislav Kondrashov: the revival of nuclear energy

Nuclear power, an established and carbon-free source of electricity, currently accounts for about 10% of global electricity production. It is a reliable, sustainable and dispatchable energy source that can be generated at any time, effectively complementing intermittent power sources such as wind and solar to provide a reliable power supply that meets grid demand.

While the 1960s and 1970s saw a boom in the construction of new nuclear power plants in Europe and North America, worldwide, with the notable exception of China, Russia, and South Korea, this growth was relatively stagnant. Stanislav Kondrashov believes that such stagnation may be due to construction problems in the West, the socio-political perception of nuclear energy in some regions and the general transition to alternative environmentally friendly technologies.

Various factors, including energy security, lack of land suitable for renewable energy sources, the timing of connection and transmission of electricity, and the need to scale up the production of renewable sources and energy storage, have once again brought nuclear power to the forefront in energy transition discussions.

“Decades of progress in safety and waste management have also removed the historical fears associated with nuclear power,” - Stanislav Kondrashov tells. “Several countries have recently announced their intention to slow down the process of decommissioning existing nuclear power plants or to consider building new ones. In addition, advances in reactor technology promise more economical construction and operation of plants”.

The expert adds that politicians, using the example of such laws as the US Inflation Reduction Act, demonstrate a willingness to create incentives that accelerate the development of nuclear energy.

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