In the intense discussion about the high electricity prices, there is broad political agreement on one thing: Norway must get access to more electricity. This is in accordance with NVE’s forecast, which assumes increased power consumption from 138 TWh (terawatt hours) to 174 TWh in 2040, i.e. an increase of 36 TWh. The report indicates an increased production of 28 TWh for the same period. Power surplus of 20 TWh is thus reduced to 12 TWh. The increase will consist of hydropower (11 TWh), onshore wind power (4 TWh), offshore wind power (7 TWh) and solar power (6 TWh). The costs will be large, both environmentally, financially and politically. If we follow this plan, weakens Norway’s power supply. There is also doubt as to whether these plans will actually lead to reaching the climate targets. Discarding nuclear power without serious consideration is therefore irresponsible.
Safety for nuclear power is on a par with solar and wind power which “safest in class” with respectively 0.02, 0.03 and 0.04 deaths per TWh. Hydropower is approx. 40 times higher. When nuclear power displaces the use of fossil energy sources, human lives will be saved due to reduced air pollution.
NVE have estimated costs for various power productions, but the costs for nuclear power are calculated for a 40-year economic lifetime, even if nuclear power plants last for 60-80 years. This means that the cost will be significantly lower than calculated. Standardized solutions provide additional cost reductions. The costs can therefore come down to 30 øre/kWh, where US nuclear power plants are located today. In contrast to renewable energy, nuclear power is dependent, while for renewable energy you have to add the costs of balance power (power production that must be available when there are no stalls and/or the sun is shining).
Norway does not need to develop new technology to use nuclear power. We should make use of ready-made concepts. Norwegian universities, colleges and research institutions have valuable expertise in nuclear physics, chemistry and materials technology. The industry has solid expertise in materials technology, chemistry, workshop industry, project management and more. In addition, we have one of the world’s most advanced professional environments in the field control room technology and simulation of nuclear power plants, Department of Energy Engineering. For construction, we can import the necessary expertise in the same way as when the oil and gas industry was in its infancy.
Deter more alternatives to relevant suppliers. South Korean KHNP with its APR1400 uses well-known technology with advanced safety systems (Gen III+). The United Arab Emirates has two in operation, and the next two will be delivered in 2023 and 2030, annual total production will be approx. 45 TWh. The total price for these fire reactors is about. NOK 250 billion. Egypt, Bangladesh and Turkey also have nuclear power plants under construction. Norway is no worse equipped than these nations to use nuclear power.
It carries out a lot of research and development in nuclear power technology that can provide new reactor types. These utilize the fuel raw material until 100 times more efficient than today’s reactors. If Norway takes part in this development, we will be able to create a large industry that can take over from the oil and gas industry.
Norway is now faced with clean-up work after 70 years of reactor operation in Norway, a task to be carried out by Norwegian Nuclear Decommissioning (NND). This work includes both intermediate storage and finally landfill of radioactive material. National and international rules requires that waste from IFE’s operations, 17 tonnes, must be stored and deposited in Norway. Sweden and Finland have developed technology for safe storage of used fuel deep down in stable bedrock. These are solutions that Norway can also make use of.
Norway must create such a landfill for already used fuel from the decommissioned reactors. Therefore, there will not be a large additional cost or challenge if this is to be dimensioned to also accept used fuel from commercial nuclear power plants.
The fuel in a nuclear power reactor is taken out after it has been in the reactor for four to five years. The used fuel must then be stored and controlled in a pool for approx. 30 years before it must be transferred to a landfill. There will therefore be plenty of time to decide how this will be handled in Norway.
Nuclear power will not be able to solve the current energy crisis because failed energy policy will take many years to clean up, regardless of technology. Part of Norway’s population is already positive about nuclear power. In our view, public information will show people that today’s energy policy is based on prejudice due to a lack of knowledge. The political parties should be able to take a clear position on the use of nuclear power before the general election in 2025.
If there is political will, the Storting and the government must quickly make a decision on the further process for location, approval and construction. If known reactor technology is used, such as the Korean reactors, the construction time can come down for seven years.
Many new types of reactors are under development (Gen IV – reactors). Many developers are aiming for prototypes to be ready by 2030. Some of these new reactor types have great potential in Norway, among other things by being able to utilize thorium as fuel.
Norway has one of the world’s largest deposits of thorium, and we have even more uranium in the sea. With these deposits can produce energy that corresponds to at least 10 – 100 times all the energy from oil and gas in the North Sea. It will require large investments, but it will ensure that Norway remains an energy superpower. That’s how we built the oil and gas industry, and that’s how we must build Norway’s next industrial foundation.
This is an investment we are obliged to make for today’s children and young people, so that Norway’s prosperity will continue after the large revenues from oil and gas production in the North Sea end.
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