It is hard to forecast with any certitude what the 21st century will hold for nuclear power. Still, the issues that will form its future are slightly clear. The goal of this paper is to study the possible role of nuclear energy in the formation of sustainable development in Europe, on the basis of a succinct inspection of the main driving forces involved.
Opinions regarding radioactive surplus, nuclear propagation, reactor accidents, trade and industry competitiveness, and public opinion continue to generate justified worries and thereby delay nuclear energy policy making, but the issues of energy supply safety, local air smog, and global environment change provide motive to reconsider its potential share in European power production. Whereas specific European nations (like Austria and Italy) currently have no plans to build nuclear power capacity, and others (such as Germany and Sweden) are publicly devoted to progressively increasing domestic nuclear energy supply, recent policy instructions in other states (Netherlands and the United Kingdom) show that nuclear energy is resurfacing on the political schedule, while some governments (Finland and France) definitively continue to preserve an important part for nuclear energy in their national electricity generation.
This paper briefly analyzes some of the key matters concerning the long-term forecasts for nuclear energy in Europe as well as the main relevant sustainability advices in this perspective. Europe, in this paper, refers in principle to all European nations, in the broad sense of the word, that were not part of the former Soviet Union excluding the three Baltic States. Therefore, not only members but also non-members of the current European Union are involved (Turkey). However, practically, this paper will focus on the probable future, at least until 2030, and most likely beyond. This growing energy consumption will be amongst the wide drivers for the forthcoming of nuclear power in Europe. Subsequently, the European population is likely to fall, with on average, a few part per thousands (ppt) per year until 2050, and the highest justification for the likely increase in energy use is the prospective growth of the European economy (expressed in GDP), typically by about 1.5% per year until 2050 in European Nations that are member of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) and as high as 3.6% per year for countries with economies in transition
[...] The extent to which fossil fuels continue to rule our energy structure, the scale at which renewables can be sustainably extended, and conjointly energy savings measures may be achieved, will disturb the future of nuclear energy. Whether or not nuclear energy will have a role of importance in the long run remains a problematic question, but the constant analysis of its predictions should be directed, in a similar way for all energy technologies, in terms of its potential to contribute to goals of sustainable development (including the full set of environmental, financial, and social risks involved). [...]
[...] The safety of nuclear power plants is an imperative issue. Its further development is one of the driving forces behind the development of next generation reactors. They are built in such a way that either a reactor- core melt-down is physically impossible or this worst scenario is assimilated into the reactor's design so that the concerns are confined to the reactor's containment system and do not affect the atmosphere. The reactor's containment structure is also planned to resist the impact of any aircraft Waste While radioactive waste production happens at basically every step of the nuclear fuel cycle, in solid, liquid, and gaseous states, spent fuel is by far its most challenging form, since it produces heat during many years after de-loading from the reactor core and rests extremely radioactive for thousands of years. [...]
[...] For the medium term (2050), the extent to which European nations and the EU will decide and succeed to really address a number of socio-economic and environmental alarms, which nuclear energy could help to ease, will highly impact on its predictions. Whether and in what way European nations, as elsewhere, will be able to address the 5 classic problematic structures of nuclear energy, yet (that is, in terms of the challenges linked with radioactive waste, propagation safety, operation security, financial costs, and public approval) will be determinant for the extent to which they will be able to exploit its relative advantages. [...]
[...] The signatory states are free to use resources to meet their commitments. However, nothing in the discussion led by the European Commission on the prevention of climate change refers to a possible strengthening of the contribution of nuclear energy to reduce CO2 emissions. Therefore the European Commission must make the effort of promoting nuclear power as energy in the future Even if The criteria for selection of nuclear reactors are not the same as those that prevailed during their great display in the 70s. [...]
[...] This growing energy consumption will be amongst the wide drivers for the forthcoming of nuclear power in Europe. Subsequently, the European population is likely to fall, with on average, a few part per thousands (ppt) per year until 2050, and the highest justification for the likely increase in energy use is the prospected growth of the European economy (expressed in GDP), typically by about per year until 2050 in European Nations that are member of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) and as high as per year for countries with economies in transition. [...]
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