Nuclear energy plays a key role in the energy transitionMay 23, 2018
The energy transition must necessarily come hand-in-hand with nuclear power. Nuclear is the technology that operates the highest number of hours, produces the most electricity and helps the most to avoid polluting emissions. The continuity of the operation of Spanish nuclear reactors is the right energy strategy to ensure electric supply, curb CO2 emissions and maintain a capable, technologically advanced, wealth and employment generating industry with a large international projection.
The need for nuclear energy is justified from a technical point of view, since this source generates the most electricity, specifically 21.17% in 2017. From an environmental point of view it also helps curb polluting emissions. This is a CO2-free technology, thus it is of essential importance to comply with the internationally ratified environmental commitments. In Spain, nuclear power plants avoid the annual emission of nearly 40 million tons of CO2 to the atmosphere. In fact, nuclear electric production last year supplied 39.32% of the non-contaminating electricity generated in Spain.
The energy transition that must be addressed in Spain precisely requires an electric mix that is as environment-friendly as possible while at the same time guaranteeing permanent supply of electricity without significant harmful effects to the prices of electricity or to competitiveness in the electricity market. Nuclear energy is a key component of this transition beyond the year 2030. This is the argument that Foro Nuclear is bringing forward as representative of the nuclear Spanish sector as a whole, along with many other voices. These voices include, in the words of Ignacio Araluce, president of the Spanish Industry Nuclear Forum, those from the "Committee of Experts in Energy Transition, who recently analyzed proposals for decarbonizing and have come to the conclusion that nuclear power plants must continue to be part of the mix since it is a strong and firm power source." He added that early closure would mean "an increase in generation costs, as well as in polluting emissions." Nuclear power is a need and "whose long-term continuity, always with the utmost safety guarantees as a priority, must come hand-in-hand with economic viability, reducing the high tax burden and establishing market mechanisms that help achieve this viability."
The Spanish nuclear sector, with capable and expert employees as well as a firm commitment to research, design and innovation, talent boosting and developing state-of-the art technologies, is prepared for the long-term continuity of the Spanish nuclear fleet and to continue operating the nuclear power plants with excellent performance indicators, as shown on the "Nuclear Results from 2017 and Future Perspectives" report (in Spanish). Along with this, the Spanish nuclear industry will continue to grow overseas, competing in the most demanding markets and exporting technology, products and services to over 40 countries in a world with 448 operating nuclear reactors in 31 countries as well as 58 units under construction in 16 countries. For Ignacio Araluce, "it is necessary to showcase the reality of the Spanish nuclear industry, which is composed of capable, highly technological companies with international prestige and recognition, which are a source of wealth and employment".
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