Proceedings of the
Second International Energy 2030 Conference,
November 4-5, 2008, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
The Role of Nuclear Energy in a Sustainable World
Prof. Mujid S. Kazimi
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
Compelling factors are making nuclear energy more attractive today than the case was even a few years ago. First, there is a wide agreement about the importance of limiting emissions of carbon into the atmosphere. While some countries are already moving to reduce their emissions by providing incentives for non-emitting sources, others are adopting firm goals for future reductions in these emissions. Nuclear energy is a major option for meeting this desire. The second important factor is the sharp rise in the price of gas and oil over the last few years. While the prices have come down from their peaks, they remain at multiple times their values at the beginning of the century, and the trend in the rest of the century will be upwards as the demand outstrips the supply of finite resources. The third and equally important factor is geopolitical distribution of energy sources, which makes much of the world vulnerable to interruptions in the supplies due to political developments in Russia or the Middle East, regions which supply most of the World’s exported oil and gas. Uranium on the other hand is principally available from a wider group of countries, ranging from Australia and Canada to Kazakhstan and Namibia. Fourth, performance of nuclear power plants has been impressive in the last decade all around the world, and such proven reliability gives confidence that management of the plants can be done safely. These factors have combined to create a shift in the official and public attitudes in many parts of the World towards re-examination of ways to deploy nuclear plants in the coming years, and to undertake further development efforts to enhance the performance of nuclear energy in economic and environmental terms.