SAINT PETERBURG INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC FORUM 2015: NUCLEAR ROLE IN THE POWER STRUCTURE
The 2015 forum was held on the same week of the White Night in Saint Peterburg, with nearly 6,000 participants, including about 900 delegates from more than 110 countries (more than about 60 in 2014) and nearly 2000 journalists attended to report on the Forum.
ROSATOM is exporting nuclear power units to many countries around the world.
The Saint Peteburg Economic Forum takes place in the context of Russia's embargo from Western countries, though, with the large number of delegates and many participating countries proving that Russia is still standing up against difficulties. There are many solutions and measures to promote international cooperation in all fields as well as promote the economic development of the country.
One of the Forum's Roundtables was on nuclear power and electricity structure, held on the first day of the Forum (June 18, 2015), with the participation of Mr. Amano, General Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Mr. Kirienko, General Director of the State Group of Atomic Energy of the Russian Federation (ROSATOM). The question for discussion is as follows: Nuclear power continues to develop and plays an important role in power supply, ensuring energy security. It seems that we have overcome the most difficult period since the Fukushima accident to continue developing strong and sustainable nuclear power in the future, is that true?
Exchanging views on this issue, Mr. Amano said that nuclear power is still developing and is the choice of many countries around the world. There are 438 units in operation, more than 69 units are being built in many countries. Especially, nuclear power projects are being built in many Asian countries, in which China and India will be the most strongly developed countries in the region and the world. Safety is the number one requirement for today's nuclear power development, and after the Fukushima accident, nuclear power safety has been guaranteed to a much higher degree thanks to the development of science and technology. "Many of the nuclear power plants I've visited in recent years have been much safer than before Fukushima," he said. Science and technology will ensure nuclear power safety as well as sustainable development ”.
Renewable energy and nuclear power are sources that do not emit CO2, and play an important role in combating the ongoing climate change along with global warming and extreme climate events. However, compared to renewable energy, nuclear power is superior in ensuring stable power and large capacity for industrial and economic development. With new technology ensuring a closed fuel cycle, nuclear power can ensure a long-term energy supply for thousands of years. New generation technology III + ensures safety, especially fast neutron furnace and new generation furnace (SMR) to ensure optimal nuclear fuel cycle for sustainable and long-term development.
The economic problem of nuclear power is related to plant life, to the fuel cycle. The problem of extending factory life includes many areas of advanced science and technology. The extension of the life of nuclear power units (old and new construction), along with the option of optimizing the fuel cycle will make nuclear power economy better, ensuring the competition of nuclear power with Other power sources.
At the meeting, Mr. Amano stated, IAEA highly appreciated the role of the Russian Federation in developing nuclear power, promoting nuclear power science and technology as well as training human resources.
Sharing views, Mr. Kirienko said that Russia has a nuclear power industry developed on the basis of advanced science and technology. Currently ROSATOM is exporting nuclear power units to many countries around the world. After the Fukushima incident, it can be seen that countries that have just begun to develop nuclear power have taken a different view when building their first power plants. The focus of nuclear power development has now shifted to Asia, especially in developing countries. Many countries which build the first nuclear power plant require higher safety requirements now than for nuclear power technology design. Previously, it was thought that building a nuclear power plant was like buying cars, having luxury cars, having cheaper cars, it didn't matter, as long as it ran stably, then this concept is no longer available. . Newly built countries want the safest, advanced nuclear power technology possible.
The issue of technological verification is also important for countries that have just started nuclear power, they must see, "touch" the technology they want to have, and this is a legitimate request. In addition to safety and verification technology, nuclear power starters request that the technology-supplying countries (ROSATOM) help support the development of nuclear regulatory systems, training human resources for nuclear power. Newly developed nuclear countries want the IAEA to increase their support and oversight of their nuclear power projects. Requirements for securing a stable and long-term supply of nuclear fuel.
Building scientific capacity to support the program of nuclear power development is an important part of developing infrastructure for nuclear power. Building and operating the first nuclear power unit means taking the country's scientific and technological capabilities to a new level. Previously, the price of nuclear power was calculated based on the investment rate (USD / kW), but now the requirement of countries that have just started building the plant is the price of electricity (US cent / kWt). The price of electricity reflects more accurately the value and competitiveness of power sources. This requires not only low investment rates, but also reasonable plant life, fuel cycle. Advanced science and technology can ensure safety as well as longer plant life, meeting the economics of nuclear power. Nuclear power plant operates for a long time, hundreds of years, so the nuclear power project is free from the influence of short-term political decisions, tenure thinking. This is a new thought, requiring the country to build nuclear power to have a long-term, sustainable strategy and commitment to its nuclear power development strategy.
Answering the question: “When there are good energy storage devices (eg batteries), renewable energy becomes more competitive than nuclear power. What are the views of IAEA and Russia on this competition issue? ”, Mr. Kirienko said that nuclear power and renewable energy are in fair competition. Having a good energy storage device will open up opportunities for the use of electric cars, which will lead to increased electricity demand, not only to encourage renewable energy but also to promote nuclear power development. .
The problem of prolonging the life of old units and dismantling the existing factory, Mr. Kirienko said: “Currently, many units have been operating for more than 30 years. The dismantling problem in Russia used to be responsible by the State, now responsible by the power companies. Funds will be accrued for dismantling. If prolonging the plant's life, on the one hand, it costs money to upgrade and ensure safety measures and systems. On the other hand, the life-long generating units will also bring significant financial resources due to low electricity costs. Therefore this will be a review and selection. In Russia, the extension can extend the service life to only 5 years, or 2-3 years based on the analysis reports, specific safety assessments of each unit.
The roundtable on nuclear power and electricity structure within the framework of the International Economic Forum Saint Peterburg 2015 was successfully held, with many new thoughts being confirmed. In the context of increasing climate change, nuclear power will certainly play an important role and be a good solution to this problem, as well as meet stable electricity demand and energy security. Besides, it strongly promotes science and technology.
Tran Chi Thanh, Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute