While countries all over the world are committed to cut down their greenhouse gas emissions to meet the Paris Agreement goal, nuclear experts gathered at the 11th edition of the international atomic energy forum- Atomexpo 2019, held in Sochi, Russia expressed their opinion in favour of atomic energy, as an imperative for sustainability of growth. Organised by Rosatom, state nuclear energy corporation the theme of this year’s forum was “Nuclear for Better Life”.
The two-day Forum held on April 15 and 16 was participated by over 3600 participants from 74 countries including Bangladesh. Bangladesh delegation was led by Architect Yeafesh Osman, Minister for Science and Technology.
In the seminars and the roundtables organised during the Atomexpo participants discussed on application of nuclear technologies that will open up new opportunities for the development of agriculture, medicine, creation of unique materials, exploration of space and the Arctic Region, as well as strengthen the energy base of the economy.
“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,” said Alexey Likhachev, Director General, Rosatom while addressing the opening ceremony of the international forum.
“Asian countries with their burgeoning economies and development goals, especially China and India have been the main driver of the demand for nuclear energy”, 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. “More and more countries are coming to the realization that developing nuclear technologies is an absolute must. After all, such technologies are irreplaceable in achieving humankind’s sustainable development goals.”
According to an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report, over 1.1 billion people in the world lack access to electricity and 2.9 billion people lack clean cooking facilities (i.e. facilities that do not use firewood). To give this population access to clean energy and at the same time fight the climate change nuclear energy can play the key role, participating experts opined.
“Nuclear power is complementary to renewable technologies, mitigating risks related to their intermittence and contributing to a decarbonised and more secure electricity system,” opined William D. Magwood, Director General, Nuclear Energy Agency. “At the same time, creating the necessary drivers for innovation in nuclear technology is one of the most important conditions for nuclear energy to be adapted to today’s challenging market conditions and play its role in sustainable energy mix of the future,”
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. Rising said, “Global carbon emissions jumped to an all-time high in 2018. It happened at such 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,”
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.”