Nu­clear En­ergy for Peace­ful Pur­poses

Uzbekistan Today (English) - - ECOLOGY AND SOCIETY - Boriy ALIKHANOV, Deputy Speaker of the Leg­isla­tive Cham­ber Oliy Ma­jlis of Uzbek­istan

In re­cent years, the cli­mate on Earth has changed no­tice­ably, the lev­els of the oceans are ris­ing, and glaciers have been melt­ing. Ex­treme weather conditions are be­com­ing more in­tense and fre­quent.

Uzbek­istan is among those coun­tries most vul­ner­a­ble to cli­mate change. The growth in av­er­age an­nual air tem­per­a­tures in the na­tion is ob­served against the back­drop of nat­u­ral vari­abil­ity, which causes sig­nif­i­cant fluc­tu­a­tions. The rate of warm­ing in the repub­lic ex­ceeds the av­er­age ob­served one on the global scale by 40%.

In the mean­time, hy­dro­car­bon fu­els, in­clud­ing nat­u­ral gas, oil and coal, will re­main im­por­tant in the next 20 years, in­di­cat­ing that the im­prove­ment of tra­di­tional en­ergy tech­nolo­gies will con­tinue to be one of the pri­or­ity di­rec­tions in the in­no­va­tive de­vel­op­ment of world en­ergy.

One of the most press­ing is­sues cur­rently widely dis­cussed in many coun­tries of the world is the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of longterm prospects for tech­no­log­i­cal evo­lu­tion in the en­ergy sec­tor. Par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est to it be­gan to emerge in re­cent years due to the de­cline in world re­serves of hy­dro­car­bon fu­els, the grow­ing needs of de­vel­op­ing coun­tries in en­ergy re­sources, as well as the in­creas­ing im­pact of en­ergy on the en­vi­ron­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to es­ti­mates of the In­ter­na­tional En­ergy Agency, the growth in the to­tal con­sump­tion of pri­mary en­ergy re­sources in the world by 2030 will be about 54% com­pared with 2010 fig­ures. And the lead­ers in en­ergy con­sump­tion growth will be dy­nam­i­cally de­vel­op­ing na­tions.

Gas pro­duc­ing coun­tries seek to make greater use of this en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly fuel visà-vis oil and coal. For ex­am­ple, in 2014, the share of gaseous fuel in the struc­ture of the na­tional en­ergy bal­ance in Uzbek­istan was 86%, in Turk­menistan it was 80%, in Al­ge­ria – 65%, Azer­bai­jan – 63%, Rus­sia – 54%, Ar­gentina – 49%, for Iran and Qatar the figure was 61% and 80%, re­spec­tively.

The coun­tries that pro­duce coal also ac­tively use it for their en­ergy needs. Thus, in the ex­pen­di­ture part of China’s en­ergy bal­ance, this power source ac­counts for about 66%, in South Africa the figure is 71%, in Kaza­khstan – 64%, In­dia – 56%, Aus­tralia – 36%, In­done­sia – 35%.

In the en­ergy gen­er­a­tion in­dus­try of some coun­tries, the lead­ing role be­longs to the one of water. For ex­am­ple, in 2014, the share of large hy­dropower plants in Nor­way ac­counted for 66% of to­tal en­ergy con­sump­tion, in Brazil and Swe­den it was 28%, in Canada and Colom­bia – 26%.

Atomic en­ergy con­tin­ues to be the ba­sis of the en­ergy com­plex. Thus, in France, this type of en­ergy ac­counts for more than 40% of to­tal power con­sump­tion, in Swe­den – 29%, Switzer­land – 22 %, Fin­land – 21%, Bul­garia – 20%. At the end of 2015, a to­tal of 438 nu­clear power plant units with a to­tal in­stalled ca­pac­ity of 375.9 GW were op­er­at­ing in the world, with ca­pac­i­ties grow­ing fur­ther and an­other 70 units be­ing built in 15 coun­tries.

In re­cent years, the pro­duc­tion of elec­tric­ity at nu­clear power sta­tions be­gan to grow: in 2012 it was 559 mil­lion tons of oil equiv­a­lent, 574 mil­lion tons of oil equiv­a­lent was pro­duced in 2014, which is as­so­ci­ated with the de­vel­op­ment of tech­nol­ogy and in­creased safety of nu­clear re­ac­tors. In 2014, the United States oc­cu­pied the lead­ing po­si­tions in the num­ber of op­er­at­ing re­ac­tors in the nu­clear power in­dus­try, with 104 sta­tions op­er­at­ing, while France and Rus­sia had 58 and 33 such plants, re­spec­tively.

In the struc­ture of pri­mary fuel and en­ergy re­sources (FER) in Uzbek­istan, mono-de­pen­dence on nat­u­ral gas re­mains high (ex­ceed­ing 85%), while the rest is coal (3%), petroleum prod­ucts (7%), and hy­dropower (5%).

Mean­while, in ac­cor­dance with var­i­ous de­vel­op­ment sce­nar­ios, global en­ergy con­sump­tion will in­crease by 1.2-1.6 times by 2050, the share of re­new­able en­ergy sources in the struc­ture of the global fuel and en­ergy bal­ance will be from 10% to 34%, the share of oil will de­crease to 29% -16%, and the ab­so­lute de­cline in its con­sump­tion is pos­si­ble, while gas con­sump­tion will in­crease, with con­tin­u­ing high un­cer­tainty in the de­vel­op­ment of nu­clear en­ergy. Also, un­til 2030, there will be a di­rect link be­tween the growth in the world pop­u­la­tion and the pro­duc­tion of elec­tric­ity.

An ex­tremely im­por­tant chal­lenge to the global en­ergy in­dus­try at the present stage of its de­vel­op­ment is the in­creas­ingly ob­vi­ous fact of a short­age of en­ergy re­sources in the near fu­ture. With the growth of the econ­omy, there is a need to in­crease the de­mand for en­ergy re­sources, which re­quires an ex­pan­sion of pri­mary fuel re­serves, the search for their re­serves and al­ter­na­tives, the pos­si­bil­ity of sub­sti­tu­tions based on the conditions of eco­nomic ex­pe­di­ency. To­day, a num­ber of dif­fer­ent points of view are ex­pressed re­gard­ing the fu­ture of world en­ergy, some­times di­a­met­ri­cally di­verg­ing, but many agree in the long term con­cern­ing the pri­or­ity of de­vel­op­ing re­new­able en­ergy sources (RES) and nu­clear en­ergy. In this re­gard, there has been a ten­dency of tran­si­tion of en­ergy based on the com­bus­tion of fos­sil fu­els to the one based on the en­ergy of al­ter­na­tive un­con­ven­tional en­ergy sources – RES as well as atomic en­ergy.

This re­quires a re­vi­sion of the is­sue of mod­ern­iza­tion of eco­nomic sec­tors in or­der to re­duce pro­duc­tion costs, as well as di­ver­sify the fuel and en­ergy re­sources em­ployed through the use of re­new­able en­ergy sources and al­ter­na­tive fu­els, and im­prove the qual­ity of en­ergy sup­ply ser­vices.

In view of the above, the rel­e­vance of the de­vel­op­ment and im­ple­men­ta­tion of al­ter­na­tive un­con­ven­tional en­ergy sources, one of which, along with re­new­able en­ergy sources, is atomic en­ergy, be­comes ob­vi­ous.

I would also like to note that the nu­clear power in­dus­try plays a key role in en­sur­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Paris Cli­mate Agree­ment, signed by Uzbek­istan on 19 April 2017, un­der which it was de­cided to take mea­sures on the in­ad­mis­si­bil­ity of a plus tem­per­a­ture change by more than 1.5 de­grees.

Atomic en­ergy is an en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly form of en­ergy. When used in nu­clear power plants to gen­er­ate elec­tri­cal and ther­mal power, com­pared to tra­di­tional forms of en­ergy, no harm­ful sub­stances such as ox­ides of ni­tro­gen, sul­fur, car­bon and oth­ers are formed.

The in­tro­duc­tion of atomic en­ergy min­i­mizes car­bon diox­ide emis­sions into the at­mos­phere, which is the main com­po­nent of green­house gases that af­fect cli­mate change.

The main eco­nomic ar­gu­ment in fa­vor of nu­clear power is its abil­ity to guar­an­tee the price of elec­tric­ity gen­er­ated for the en­tire ser­vice life of a nu­clear power plant (NPP), which is at least 60 years with the pos­si­bil­ity of its ex­ten­sion.

In the global en­ergy sec­tor there is a steady in­crease in nu­clear power and it is cur­rently used in 31 coun­tries of the world. At present, op­er­at­ing nu­clear power plants pro­duce 11% of all elec­tric­ity. At the same time, along with France, in coun­tries like Slo­vakia, Ukraine, Hun­gary and Bel­gium, atomic en­ergy pro­vides for more than 40% of the needs.

In our coun­try, there is an acute need at the present time for the de­vel­op­ment of nu­clear en­ergy. This is due to the fol­low­ing cir­cum­stances. With the de­mand for elec­tric­ity in Uzbek­istan, which amounts to 69 bil­lion kWh, about 64 bil­lion is be­ing pro­duced. That is, there is a cer­tain deficit. At the same time, it should be noted that about 85% of this en­ergy is gen­er­ated through the use of gas, fuel oil and coal, and 15% is pro­duced at hy­dro­elec­tric power plants. For this, 16.5 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters of nat­u­ral gas, 86 thou­sand tons of fuel oil and 2.3 mil­lion tons of coal are con­sumed an­nu­ally. At the same time, ac­cord­ing to the cal­cu­la­tions of spe­cial­ists and ex­perts, the need for elec­tric­ity in Uzbek­istan by 2030 will reach 117 bil­lion kWh due to the growth of the econ­omy, pop­u­la­tion, as well as liv­ing stan­dards. That is, the short­age of power will amount to 53 bil­lion kWh.

For the pro­duc­tion of the re­quired amount of elec­tric­ity nat­u­ral gas will need to be used, which will be 54% of the to­tal power gen­er­ated. Coal will cover 11%, petroleum prod­ucts – 3%, and also 14% should be pro­duced by hy­dro­elec­tric power plants, 3% – from re­new­able en­ergy sources, and for the re­main­ing 15%, ad­di­tional power will be re­quired that can be sup­plied by nu­clear power plants.

To this end, Uzbek­istan and Rus­sia signed an in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal agree­ment on 29 De­cem­ber 2017 on co­op­er­a­tion in the field of peace­ful uses of atomic en­ergy. It pro­vides for the con­struc­tion of a nu­clear power plant on the ba­sis of power units with 1,200 MW re­ac­tors. That is the lat­est power unit equipped with au­to­ma­tion. The de­sign of the re­ac­tor is a closed, sealed cap­sule, ex­clud­ing the ingress of ra­dioac­tive sub­stances into the en­vi­ron­ment and not hav­ing runoff. Also pro­vides with modern tech­nol­ogy for waste dis­posal. At the same time, the re­ac­tor be­longs to the 3+ gen­er­a­tion and takes into ac­count the safety re­quire­ments of the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency (IAEA) and the re­li­a­bil­ity of modern tech­nolo­gies.

The sig­nif­i­cant progress made by sci­en­tists in im­prov­ing the safety of modern nu­clear power plants should be noted. These re­ac­tors, the so-called new gen­er­a­tion units, are dis­tin­guished from their pre­de­ces­sors by a high de­gree of re­li­a­bil­ity, ease of man­age­ment ow­ing to the full au­to­ma­tion of the en­tire pro­duc­tion cy­cle, the gen­er­a­tion of en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly en­ergy with­out ad­verse ef­fects on the ecol­ogy and hu­man health. It is planned to fully uti­lize this re­ac­tor un­til 2028.

The planned con­struc­tion of a nu­clear power plant in Uzbek­istan will have a pos­i­tive im­pact not only on the sta­ble sup­ply of elec­tric­ity to the pop­u­la­tion of the repub­lic, but also will al­low for sav­ing and chan­nel­ing more than 100 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters of nat­u­ral gas to more ur­gent needs. As a re­sult of its pro­cess­ing, petro­chem­i­cal prod­ucts with higher added value will be pro­duced. And if the saved nat­u­ral gas, even with­out pro­cess­ing, is sent for ex­port, it will bring Uzbek­istan in­come in the amount of 550-600 mil­lion US dol­lars a year. Dur­ing the con­struc­tion of the nu­clear power plant, five thou­sand jobs will be cre­ated, and ad­di­tional jobs will be re­quired for 1.5 thou­sand spe­cial­ists at the start-up stage.

Ex­am­i­na­tion of the ex­pe­ri­ence of for­eign coun­tries (France, Ger­many, S.Korea, USA, Lithua­nia, Ukraine, Rus­sia, Be­larus, Kaza­khstan, among oth­ers) also showed that many na­tions have spe­cial laws that com­pre­hen­sively reg­u­late the use of atomic en­ergy.

In ad­di­tion, 84 states are cur­rently par­ties to the 1994 Vi­enna Con­ven­tion on Nu­clear Safety, one of the main re­quire­ments of which is the cre­ation of a na­tional le­gal frame­work for the use of nu­clear en­ergy and en­sur­ing safety in its op­er­a­tion.

On 10 July 2018, a meet­ing took place un­der the chair­man­ship of Pres­i­dent Shavkat Mirziy­oyev on the con­struc­tion and op­er­a­tion of nu­clear power plants, at which the is­sue of the need to cre­ate a reg­u­la­tory frame­work in a new area for our coun­try, in par­tic­u­lar, the de­vel­op­ment of the draft law “On the use of atomic en­ergy in peace­ful pur­poses” in ac­cor­dance with the re­quire­ments of the IAEA, in­ter­na­tional stan­dards and prac­tices of the most ad­vanced na­tions. And on July 19, 2018, the head of state signed the de­cree “On mea­sures for the de­vel­op­ment of nu­clear en­ergy in the Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan”. The doc­u­ment pro­vides for the cre­ation of a spe­cial body reg­u­lat­ing re­la­tions in the field of nu­clear en­ergy, the Uzatom agency.

At present, the de­vel­op­ment of a bill has be­gun, which will reg­u­late re­la­tions aris­ing from the peace­ful uses of atomic en­ergy. Le­gal foun­da­tions will be laid for the func­tion­ing of newly es­tab­lished in­sti­tu­tions and sys­tems for en­sur­ing the use of atomic en­ergy for peace­ful pur­poses.

It is planned to im­ple­ment the most ef­fec­tive mech­a­nisms to se­cure the safety of cit­i­zens in the use of atomic en­ergy. The ba­sic prin­ci­ples for car­ry­ing out ac­tiv­i­ties on the use of atomic en­ergy are planned to de­ter­mine pri­or­i­ties for pro­tect­ing life and health of cit­i­zens, safe­guard­ing the en­vi­ron­ment be­fore all other as­pects of us­ing atomic en­ergy, pro­vid­ing for nu­clear and ra­di­a­tion safety, pre­vent­ing the pro­duc­tion of nu­clear weapons and other nu­clear ex­plo­sive de­vices.

The mech­a­nisms for com­mis­sion­ing and decom­mis­sion­ing or lim­it­ing the op­er­a­tional char­ac­ter­is­tics of a nu­clear power plant are de­fined, and a fund for decom­mis­sion­ing an NPP is be­ing cre­ated.

To pro­tect cit­i­zens and shield the en­vi­ron­ment in the area of the NPP lo­ca­tion, a san­i­tary safe­guard zone and a sur­veil­lance precinct are es­tab­lished, and a spe­cial le­gal regime is es­tab­lished at the lo­ca­tion of the fa­cil­ity.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Uzbekistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.