May 29, 2022

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Politicians' irrational fear of nuclear power

Politicians’ irrational fear of nuclear power

They deal with the security of supplies and the willingness of the Norwegian people to accept encroachment on nature and high electricity prices.

Neither the former Norwegian prime minister, Erna Solberg, nor the current prime minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, have been particularly positive about nuclear power in Norway. Here from a debate in Parliament.
  • johnny heathammer

    Ph.D., CEO M Vest Energy, former UiB Professor of Geology and Geophysics.

  • flower of the year

    Ph.D. and Ph.D. in Nuclear and Energy Physics from the University of Oslo. Lecturer with research focus in nuclear energy and thorium.

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right recently adopted At its national meeting “that Norway take an active part in international research and development of new nuclear energy technology, including thorium,” and that “Investigation of the basic requirements and needs of Norway for nuclear energy».

This is despite the fact that party leader Erna Solberg previously claimed that nuclear power would be one bankruptcy declaration For Norway, where “we have a lot of energy sources that we can tap into”, a view shared by Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (Labour). She also said that no one wanted a nuclear power plant or «Bosset » In its vicinity, the latter referring to radioactive waste.

Nikolai Astrop (H) suggested filtering words Nuclear power is out of the programAnd claimed In short, Norway should not do business where we do not already have experience, the opinion of Minister of Climate and Environment Espin Barth Eide (Labour) supports. Right-wing leadership, however, had to do it lose to the majoritywhose concerns about climate, nature and high electricity prices go beyond nuclear energy concerns.

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Suneva Rose and Johnny Heisthammer write, “Erna Solberg’s view that no one wants nuclear power plants in their backyard must be viewed in light of the alternatives.”

Norway needs a lot More power by 2050. expect DNV that energy production will increase by 65 percent, Despite the vast energy efficiency. They explain that hydropower development and modernization has limited potential, solar energy is a niche product in Norway, while geothermal and other energy sources will contribute only marginally.

the majority, about 75 percent, So it should come from increasing electricity production from wind power, primarily from offshore wind accordingly. has now Uncertain profitability, but also from wind turbines in Norwegian nature. The options aren’t all over the world, Solberg and Støre claim.

Since wind power only provides electricity when it’s a storm, DNV states that the vast majority of wind power must be exported. External cables increase the security of supply because we can export and import electricity depending on the weather.

Should Norway invest in nuclear energy?

Today’s government will on the other side Have no more foreign cables, Because it will make energy more expensive. They are right about this, and therefore politicians promise us stable and cheap electricity without knowing how to achieve it.

Precisely for this reason, nuclear energy should be considered, as it provides safe and stable energy with minimal interference with nature. Like all other energy sources, nuclear energy also faces challenges, but fact-based knowledge shows that it can be controlled.

Modern reactors produce with minimum high level waste which require long-term storage – so small that reactor waste covering a person’s electricity needs for a year is equivalent to the weight of a sheet of paper. Upcoming reactor technology, such as Salt Melting Reactorswill reduce the quantity further 98 percent The shelf life is up to 300 years.

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according to comprehensive report From the European Union Scientific Committee, JRC, it is entirely possible to store highly active waste safely by burying it several hundred meters in the ground. If radioactive waste is released in the distant future, the radiation doses will be much lower than the natural background radiation. Very harmless. However, since materials left over from today’s reactors can be reused in the future, it makes sense to temporarily store the waste for now, rather than bury it.

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Erna Solberg point That no one wants nuclear power plants in their backyard should be seen in light of the alternatives. If the choice is between 100 square kilometers with wind turbines or a small nuclear power plant in an area similar to a football field, it is not reasonable for people to choose wind power, especially if the latter also leads to higher cost and unstable power. Nuclear energy is also the safest The source of energy you can have in the backyard.

Nikolai Astrup’s argument that Norway has no expertise in nuclear power seems strange in light of the fact that Norway has built and operated four nuclear reactors. The construction of the former took three years and was completed in 1951, while the latter was decommissioned in 2018, which is not so long ago. Then write also Norsk Lexicon Store That: “Overall, these activities have contributed to building an important Norwegian competence in nuclear energy technology.”

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Norway is the world leader on the construction and operation of complex offshore facilities and may have the world The best supervisory body To ensure the safe operation of this. So it is astonishing that politicians ignore this efficiency when it comes to nuclear power, and at the same time have high confidence in our ability to build efficiency in battery production, carbon sequestration, blue hydrogen, and offshore wind.

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Astrup indicates cost overruns for Olkiluoto . nuclear power plant In Finland as an argument that nuclear power is expensive. As a conservative politician, he should know that the costs of capital alone are not appropriate to say anything about the profitability of the enterprise. This requires life-cycle analyzes, as the International Energy Agency, the International Energy Agency, has done for all energy sources. The Documents Nuclear energy is neither the most expensive nor the cheapest, and solar and wind energy is the cheapest only as long as the costs of ensuring stable energy connections are excluded.

Astrop’s points however are not relevant to the discussion about nuclear power in Norway. Giant reactors of the type built in Finland are not the most relevant to Norway. Instead, we can gain experience from studies At the Massachusetts Institute of Technologywhich indicates that costs can be significantly reduced by building modular small scale reactors, such as Rolls-Royce And GE Hitachi Planning.

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When it comes to fuel means International Atomic Energy Agency, that sufficient uranium resources have been shown to cover the need for the foreseeable future. This applies not least to the use of salt-smelting reactors, where a much larger proportion of fuel is used. The element thorium, which Norway has a lot of, can also be made use of.

It is alarming that many senior Norwegian politicians take the security of supply and the willingness of the Norwegian people to accept encroachment on nature and high electricity prices lightly. Instead, they should make significant efforts to promote modern and safe nuclear energy technology that can contribute to a stable and affordable energy supply with minimal use of Norwegian nature.

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