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But this summer, Rune Edvardsen, the self-proclaimed “mayor of nuclear power,” took the initiative to create a separate interest organization for municipalities interested in setting up small nuclear power plants locally.
This came after Narvik in April signed an agreement with Norsk Kernicraft to investigate the matter.
Edvardsen has widespread political support for this in Narvik. The FRP has long been keen on such a solution, and in the election campaign, the Conservative mayoral candidate also gave support to investigating the presence of a nuclear power plant in the municipality.
In a June poll conducted by the newspaper Freemover, 53% of Narvik residents said yes to nuclear power.
I myself grew up with an ingrained fear of nuclear power.
I was 20 years old when a nuclear reactor collapsed at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania.
It then released large amounts of radioactivity and created the term “China Syndrome”; The idea that a runaway nuclear reactor could melt through the Earth.
When I was a student, I proudly wore a button with a smiling red sun on a yellow background and the words “Nuclear power? No thanks.”
The Chernobyl disaster in 1986 did not make nuclear power any less frightening.
Heavy radiation fell across Europe, not least here in Nordland where large quantities of reindeer and sheep meat had to be destroyed due to contamination.
Therefore, it is viewed differently in Narvik.
This is not primarily due to any fascination with nuclear energy, but rather a virtue of necessity.
There are huge plans for industrial facilities in Narvik – Aker alone will spend $50 billion – and that requires a lot of energy.
In proposing the new municipal plan, the administration identified six potential areas for establishing a nuclear power plant.
This should serve as a crossroads for other energy-short areas in the future, such as Salten.
Here, in a few years, Narvik may have gained a head start that may be difficult to follow.
Narvik has also – together with six other municipalities – concluded an agreement with Smart Innovation Norway, the Institute of Energy Technology and Norsk kärnkraft AS to investigate the construction of a nuclear power plant.
During this year’s major energy conference in Bodø, one of the speakers was Communications Director Suneva Rose at Norsk kærnkraft AS.
She has strongly defended nuclear energy as a key part of Norwegian climate change.
Not in the short term; But as Rose said: Who here in the room seriously believes that Norway can meet its climate goals in 2030?
She clearly has a point here: it would certainly be possible in the long term to use nuclear power as part of the Norwegian energy mix.
Whether it’s a good idea is a whole different question.
Roses mean that. Heavy documentation was provided.
As stated in a recent statement by the European Union Scientific Committee, nuclear energy is the safest source of energy.
It can also point to the UN Economic Commission for Europe report which states that nuclear energy is the energy source that has the least negative impact on climate, nature and the environment, the use of scarce natural resources and human health.
Yes, the radiation from a coal-fired power plant is greater for those who live near it than the radiation from a nuclear power plant.
It may seem completely ridiculous to those of us who grew up with the China Syndrome and the Chernobyl accident, but it may be true.
The reason is that reactor types are safer and safety around nuclear power plants is greatly increased.
It is also clear that today’s power plants are smaller than those of old, which means they require less space and are easier to secure.
What many believe is the biggest problem in nuclear energy still exists; It produces waste that must be disposed of safely for hundreds of thousands of years.
Here too there is a sense of relief from the European Union’s Scientific Committee, which believes that storage deep underground is safe. The fact that modern nuclear power plants produce small amounts of waste.
So little, according to Rose, that we would only need one landfill in Norway.
The problem might be finding a municipality that would accept such a warehouse, but Halden reported everything.
Narvik must also be prepared to store nuclear waste, if they are to use the energy it produces.
However, it is a flexible move by municipal politicians there to take a leadership role in a development that could give the municipality significant financial rewards.
Or a new Chernobyl.
I must admit that for me, there is still a long way to go before I say yes to nuclear energy. Among other things, for this reason. So I’ll probably never become the “base ship” in this field.
But I have to admit that a lot of my skepticism arose at a time when a nuclear power plant was something different than it is today. And we are running out of other solutions to the climate crisis.
So I’m willing to say like Narvik: let’s at least look at what this would actually involve.
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