Press release

“Nuclear power is a hero in the shadows”, assures Sama Bilbao y León in #ConversacionesNucleares (Nuclear Conversations)

February 24, 2021

Foro Nuclear continues its #ConversacionesNucleares (#NuclearConversations) cycle with the new General Director of the World Nuclear Association (WNA)

The new General Director of the World Nuclear Association (WNA), Spanish-born Sama Bilbao y León, spoke with the President of the Spanish Nuclear Industry Forum (Foro Nuclear) in a virtual meeting with the active participation of the public. She assured that "nuclear power plays an essential role in decarbonization and the stability of the grid", and her Association works to educate society about this.

In her conversation for the #ConversacionesNucleares (#NuclearConversations) cycle organized by Foro Nuclear,  Sama Bilbao y León, the new General Director of the World Nuclear Association, indicated that "nuclear power is a hero in the shadows, and most people do not realize the essential role that nuclear power plays in our daily life. For this reason, we want to make sure that this very important role becomes more visible."

 

"Most people do not realize the essential role of nuclear power in our daily life" - Sama Bilbao

During her participation, the woman in charge of the World Nuclear Association, with headquarters in London, insisted on the fact that "the role of nuclear power is essential to stabilize the electric grid worldwide. We always need an energy source that works at all times, every day of the week and the year, and this is nuclear energy." She also mentioned that "nuclear is the only clean energy that does not emit CO2 and produces electricity and heat at the same time; these are very important aspects."

Ignacio Araluce, President of Foro Nuclear, moderated the conversation. He agreed with Sama Bilbao on "the importance of nuclear power as a firm, baseload and stable source that helps bring us closer to decarbonization goals." He asked Ms. Bilbao about the global tendency to embrace nuclear power. "Many countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Belarus, Canada, South East Asian countries and Latin American countries are embracing the development of this technology."

"The role of nuclear power is essential to stabilize the electric grid worldwide." - Sama Bilbao

In the words of Sama Bilbao y León, the construction of new reactors is complemented by "long-term operation as a positive future agenda. Long-term operation is the safest way of maintaining clean energy. In the United States, many nuclear power plants will be operating for 60 to 80 years, and in some cases an extension to 100 years is under study. If the safe operation of nuclear power plants can be mantained, there is no problem in lenghtening their life."

The WNA General Director, who has been in this position for four months after holding positions of great responsibility in the Nuclear Energy Agency at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (NEA-OCDE) at the United Nations, commented that "we want to make sure that decision makers understand the importance of nuclear power in the short, medium and long term to support the global socioeconomic resurgence we will so urgently need after the pandemic."

"Nuclear power is necessary to support the socioeconomic resurgence we so urgently need after the pandemic." - Sama Bilbao

For the President of Foro Nuclear, "nuclear power is penalized. At the global level, access to financial sources is more complicated. We need to find a way to place value on its contribution to the fight against climate change when it comes to accessing better financing conditions and reducing the tax burden it endures."

Along these lines, Sama Bilbao y León considered that "economic and financial issues will shape the future of nuclear power. It is very important to make a full cost analysis." After her participation, the WNA General Director highlighted the value of the professionalism of nuclear workers and the interest of young people in this area. "People who know nuclear people feel that our enthusiasm and desire to contribute rubs off on them",  she added.

 

Video of the conversation (in Spanish)