Com­mis­sion­ing of Ku­danku­lam NPP and nuclear en­ergy in Latin Amer­ica, by Leonam dos San­tos Guimaraes, Plan­ning, Man­age­ment and En­vi­ron­ment Di­rec­tor Eletro­bras.

Power Watch India - - CONTENTS - By Leonam dos San­tos Guimaraes The au­thor is Plan­ning, Man­age­ment and En­vi­ron­ment Di­rec­tor Eletro­bras.

The Ku­danku­lam Nuclear Power Plant emerged from an in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal agree­ment be­tween the former Soviet Union and In­dia in 1988. Its 100% connection to the grid is a great achieve­ment. It is the re­sult of a strong po­lit­i­cal will and a government com­mit­ment to the nuclear pro­gramme of that coun­try. The fact that the unit is of VVER type - a Rus­sian ver­sion of PWR - and the long tra­di­tion of lo­cal PHWR tech­nol­ogy in In­dia, show that tech­nol­ogy trans­fer strat­egy and di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion are ways to im­prove nuclear en­ergy in the coun­try. For Rus­sia, sell­ing its VVER tech­nol­ogy abroad, is also a great achieve­ment. Ku­danku­lam will thus be a shop win­dow of Rosatom’s tech­no­log­i­cal and com­mer­cial ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

In a world marked by conflict, it is grat­i­fy­ing to see that one of the ma­jor in­dus­tries such as nuclear - in which the state-of-the-art tech­nol­ogy, money and pol­i­tics are so united - can en­hance its cred­i­bil­ity and in­crease its rev­enues in a civilised way through eco­nomic and sci­en­tific co­op­er­a­tion. Rus­sia has tra­di­tion­ally been one of the strong­est play­ers in this mar­ket. Its nuclear tech­nolo­gies have long been con­sid­ered the best in the world, al­low­ing it to ac­quire eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal part­ners glob­ally. This is es­pe­cially true in Asia, which has just set out on the road to ac­quir­ing rel­a­tively cheap nuclear en­ergy, while it seeks part­ners able to pro­vide them with safe and eco­nom­i­cal nuclear re­ac­tors. In this re­gard, Rus­sia’s great­est suc­cess so far is the de­vel­op­ment of nuclear co­op­er­a­tion with such states pow­er­ful as In­dia or China.

Most of the cur­rently planned re­ac­tors are in Asia, re­gion with fast-grow­ing economies and grow­ing de­mand for elec­tric­ity. Many coun­tries with ex­ist­ing nuclear en­ergy pro­grammes (such as Ar­gentina, Ar­me­nia, Brazil, Bul­garia, China, Czech Repub­lic, In­dia, Pak­istan, Ro­ma­nia, Rus­sia, Slo­vakia, South Korea, South Africa, United Arab Emi­rates, Ukraine, the United King­dom) plan to build new power re­ac­tors (be­sides those un­der con­struc­tion). In to­tal, over 160 power re­ac­tors with a to­tal net ca­pac­ity of about 182,000 MWe are planned and more than 300 are pro­posed.

En­ergy security con­cerns and fos­sil fuel con­straints due to the green­house ef­fect, have com­bined with na­tional needs for eco­nomic growth and so­cial in­clu­sion to put nuclear power back on the agenda for pro­jected new ca­pac­ity in many coun­tries.

The fact that unit #2 of the Ku­danku­lam nuclear plant has reached 100% of its ca­pac­ity is a good mo­ti­va­tion to talk about nuclear en­ergy in Latin Amer­ica. In order to do so, we must first un­der­stand the re­gion’s di­ver­sity of eco­nomic, en­er­getic and so­cial con­texts. Brazil, Ar­gentina and Mex­ico are the only three coun­tries that cur­rently have nuclear power plants in op­er­a­tion. But Chile, Uruguay and, more re­cently, Venezuela and Bo­livia, are show­ing up as po­ten­tial new­com­ers. In 2016, the World En­ergy Coun­cil pre­sented a study on en­ergy pro­jec­tions in Latin Amer­ica based on three ba­sic sce­nar­ios for 2060, which are called SAMBA, TANGO and BLUES.

The study con­sid­ers crit­i­cal un­cer­tain­ties for the three sce­nar­ios, with re­spect to pro­duc­tiv­ity and com­pet­i­tive­ness; cli­mate change and re­silience; re­gional gov­er­nance and the in­stru­ments of ac­tion. TANGO’s sce­nario, with strong pro­duc­tiv­ity and eco­nomic growth led by the States, shows the high­est nuclear quota and in­stalled ca­pac­ity for the re­gion. But the World En­ergy Coun­cil holds a pes­simistic view for our in­dus­try, stat­ing that “nuclear waste is very lim­ited in the re­gion due to lack of in­sti­tu­tional ca­pac­ity and high cap­i­tal costs.” How­ever, the Latin Amer­i­can nuclear en­ergy pro­jec­tions - de­vel­oped by the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency - fore­cast be­tween 13 and 55 in­stalled GW in the re­gion by 2050. Some­one said that “pre­dict­ing is a very dif­fi­cult task, es­pe­cially when it comes to pre­dict­ing the fu­ture.” As we say in Brazil, “even the past is un­cer­tain”, so I pre­fer to be more op­ti­mistic in re­gards to nuclear power in Brazil and Latin Amer­ica.

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