Europe and Asia are expanding nuclear plant fleets

Europe and Asia are expanding nuclear plant fleets

 Nuclear power is expected to return to the peak of its golden age after the oil crisis of the 1970s. Alex Whitworth, head of research strategy for energy and renewable energy in Asia at the global research and consulting institute Wood Mackenzie, said that the surge in fossil fuel prices would make the world, especially Asian countries, switch to nuclear, which is recognized as green energy. 

"If fossil fuel prices stay high for a period of three to four years, I think that will be enough to launch a golden age of nuclear development especially in Asia because that's where they are most sensitive to price and because they need it the most," Whitworth said. Industry experts also predict that Asia will encourage the construction of new nuclear reactors given the condition of the world's manufacturing centers seeking electricity supplies to replace fossil fuels as well as complement renewable energy. Previously, both the administration of US President Joe Biden and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have said nuclear power is essential for countries to meet Net Zero Emission goals and ensure energy security, as Russia has cut off natural gas supplies to Europe since the Ukraine war began. in February. In July, the IEA said global nuclear capacity would need to be doubled by 2050 to achieve its Net Zero Emissions target.

 Now, governments across Europe and Asia are expanding their aging nuclear plant fleets. Reuters reports the new leaders of the Philippines, Japan and South Korea have pushed for plans to restart construction of new reactors or plants to reduce power shortages while reducing emissions. The new President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has revived discussion of a proposal to rehabilitate the Philippines' Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) site that has not generated electricity since its completion in 1984. 

The move comes amid the current energy crisis that has pushed up prices for traditional power generation fuels, coal and coal. natural gas to a record.
Nuclear power plants are a new solution because they are cheaper. Whitworth said the average cost of electricity generated by a conventional nuclear power plant over its lifetime is less than half that of a gas-fired plant at current prices, and is within the same range as coal power.

 Moreover, new technologies such as small modular reactors (SMRs) are said to be faster to build and cheaper than conventional units. This technology is being looked at by Singapore, the Philippines and Japan. On this basis, Whitworth is optimistic that nuclear, which now accounts for about 5 percent of Asia Pacific's electricity supply, is expected to increase to 8 percent by 2030 based on announced projects.

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