Discussion: Maybe it’s time to acknowledge the elephant in the room that the government won’t talk about? There is in fact a solution that can provide stable, safe, carbon-free energy, which does not take up large areas of reindeer herding or damage large local areas.
Runar Braut Killingstad
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In these times, debate rages on whether Equinor should electrify or engage in carbon capture at Equinor’s gas power plant in Melkøya. Meanwhile, politicians debate and no one dares to say that Norway is on its way to meeting its climate goals.
Fission, often called nuclear energy, makes all of this possible. New technologies are being developed where the facilities are very secure and are not able to face the same problems as before. Some of these solutions are called SMRs (small modular reactors). Such a reactor can provide both heat and electricity, which will be useful if you electrify or engage in carbon capture. Such a station has a lifespan of up to 80 years and will guarantee energy for Finnmark beyond our lifetime.
Politicians sometimes say we don’t have the knowledge to do it, but as the developing nation of Bangladesh expands, we should also be able to do it. Are we concerned about what to do with the very small amount of waste produced by nuclear energy? Then we ask the Swedes and Finns for advice, they get it. Then we should too.
My call on the government is to ask Equinor to investigate the possibility of powering Melkøya from an SMR, at the same time as it investigates opportunities for other SMRs in Norway and establishes a Ministry for Nuclear Energy Regulation and Concessions in Norway.
Equinor is among the best in Europe at building large projects on time and on budget. They are world leaders in health, safety and environment and are very good at operating facilities. But when the government is against it, it cannot do anything.
The climate crisis is the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced. It requires us to radically change how our society is structured and how everything from synthetic fertilizers to steel and energy is produced.
Let us not be governed by fear and bias, but rather use all the tools at our disposal. It requires leadership, but I believe the government is capable of responding to the accusations. Let’s take a step out of the climate problem, and at the same time secure electricity for Finnmark for our grandchildren.
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