With world countries committing to cut down their emissions to meet the Paris Agreement goal, nuclear experts gathered at the 11th edition of Atomexpo organised in Sochi, Russia think that atomic energy is imperative for sustainability of growth.
Over 3600 participants from 74 countries participated in the 2019 edition of International Forum Atomexpo. New countries like Qatar, Bahrain and Nicaragua also participated in the forum. The forum this year intends to discuss the application of nuclear technologies that open up new opportunities for the development of medicine, creation of unique materials, space exploration, exploration of the Arctic Region, as well as strengthen the energy base of the economy. The motto of this year’s forum is “Nuclear for Better Life”.
“The widespread use of nuclear technologies has become an important factor in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It has become an integral part of the entire world community’s work towards improving the quality of life, reaching prosperity, and building a responsible attitude to the environment,” Alexey Likhachev, Director General, Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation said at the opening ceremony of the international forum. Rosatom is the technical consultants and main equipment suppliers for the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in India.
Asian countries with their burgeoning economies and development goals, especially China and India have been the main driver of the demand for nuclear energy. “More and more countries are coming to the realization that developing nuclear technologies is an absolute must. After all, such technologies are irreplaceable to the achievement of humankind’s sustainable development goals,” said Sergei Kiriyenko, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office of the Russian Federation, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation.
According to an IAEA report, over 1.1 billion people are without access to electricity and 2.9 billion people lack clean cooking facilities (i.e. facilities that do not use firewood). To give this population of the planet access to clean energy and at the same time counter the climate change can be achieved through nuclear energy.
Keeping in mind the role to be played by nuclear energy in achieving sustainable development, Director General of World Nuclear Association Agneta Rising called for more investments in the field. “Global carbon emissions jumped to an all-time high in 2018. At a time when the latest IPCC (Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change) report says that emissions must be cut almost immediately, investment in alternatives to fossil fuels, particularly nuclear, needs to be increased substantially,” Rising added.
The International Energy Agency has called for nuclear energy to receive “clear and consistent policy support for existing and new capacity, including clean energy incentive schemes for development of nuclear alongside other clean forms of energy.”