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Nuclear post Fukushima: the position of WEC Members Alessandro Clerici WEC Chair of Study Group “Survey of Energy Resources and Technologies” and of “Nuclear Task Force” & Senior Advisor to The President of ABB Italy. Index. Global Energy Situation WEC Nuclear Task Force

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Nuclear post Fukushima:

the position of WEC Members

Alessandro Clerici

WEC Chair of Study Group “Survey of Energy Resources and Technologies” and of “Nuclear Task Force”


Senior Advisor to The President of ABB Italy


Global Energy Situation

WEC Nuclear Task Force

The positions of WEC members

General remarks

World population now 6.7 billion people: (300000 births/day)
  • In the last 10 years: population +12%;primary energy +20%;

electricity +30%

  • 1.6 billion human beings with no electricity
  • Electricity always more important: Electric Energy in 2030 will consume 44% of primary energy resources for its production (36% in 2007).

Worldwide 40% of CO2 emissions are caused by production of electricity: 10 bt/year (while transports are at 6 bt).

  • In China during the period 2006-2010 commissioned ~ 300 MW/day of new power plants (100 GW/year) of which 80% coal-fueled; CO2 emissions from only these new plants is 2.2 bt/year.

EC reduction target of CO2 is 20% in 2020 (0.8 bt/year), equal to less than 2% of the expected global emissions in 2020.



Electricity demand

Primary energy demand

CO2 emissions

World population




What are the prevailing trends impacting energy?-Growth in population, increased urbanization/large cities- Living standards and demand increase especially in LDC’s,- CO2 emissions

All values rebased to 100

Source: International Energy Agency, Global Insight

world primary energy demand in the reference scenario 2008 12000 mtep
World primary energy demand in the Reference Scenario 2008: ~12000 MTEP

World energy demand expands by 45% between now and 2030 – an average rate of increase of 1.6% per year – with coal accounting for more than a third of the overall rise

Based on present proven resources (R) and actual production (P):
    • oil R/P ~ 40 years
    • gas R/P ~ 60 years
    • coal R/P ~ 200 years
  • But resources for potential unconventional oil from:
    • oil shale (80% in USA)
    • natural bitumen (60% in Canada)
    • extra heavy oil (95% Venezuela)

are largeand economic for stable oil prices above 90 US$/bbl.

  • The “boom” of shale gas in North America; possible global resources 4 times those of conventional gas.
  • The problem is not the availability of fossil fuels but their uneven distribution and how to burn them

Fossil Fuels

electric energy production in 2010
Electric energy production in 2010
  • China ~ 4230 TWh
  • US ~ 4120 TWh
  • Japan ~ 955 TWh
  • Russia ~ 907 TWh
  • India ~ 720 TWh
  • Canada ~ 565 TWh
  • France ~ 550 TWh
  • Germany ~ 490 TWh

Source WNA

2 countries ~ 40% global production

and in great majority from coal

last 10 years trend for electric energy production from different sources
Last 10 years trend for electric energy production from different sources

2001 2010

Coal 38.7% 41.7%

Oil 7.4% 64.7% 4.2% 66.6%

Gas 18.6% 20.7%

Nuclear 17.1% 13.4%

Hydro 16.5% 16.2%

Biomasses 1.1% 18.2% 1.5% 20%

Other Renewables 0.6% 2.3%

Elaborations from IEA

  • Increase in % of electricity from fossil fuels!
  • The increase of renewables does not overcome the decrease in % of nuclear; non CO2 sources loose market shares!
Fossil fuels contribute worldwide for more than 80% to the energy needs and 66% to electricity production; through their combustion they are the main cause of GHG emissions, detrimental to the future of our planet.
  • To reduce both the consumption of the limited fossil resources, cumulated in millions of years, and the CO2 emissions, there are clearly 2 main ways:
    • rationalization/reduction of energy consumptions
    • use of carbon free energy sources
shaping the trends between now and 2030 cut link between growth energy use and emissions
Shaping the trends between now and 2030Cut link between growth, energy use and emissions

Meeting the energy challenges requires the world to:

Reduce the correlation between economic growth and energy use

Reduce the correlation between energy production and emissions


Carbon capture (CCS)


Reduction of energy


Source: ABB Presentation at WEC Montreal

Strong link between Energy Efficiency and Renewables.

For reduction of energy consumptions, 2 main parallel ways:
    • energy efficiency, doing the same with less: same products and services but using less energy, with no impact on the standards of living.

Technology driven but affected also by legislations, standards, “life cycle culture”.

    • energy conservation:changes in standards of leaving,doing / having less with less.

Socio/politically driven.

global situation for nuclear
Global situation for nuclear
  • Over the last 10 yearsthe world nuclear energy production has been practically constant at about 2600 TWh but loosing market shares, with the so called “nuclear renaissance” happening at the public perception front, where the major concerns after Chernobyl changedlittle by little from large accident to questions around final waste disposal / costs / Nimby.
  • Theimpact of the incident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which resulted from the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami on March 11th, 2011 will have wide ranging consequences on the global energy mix ,following emotional reactions of governments and companies consequential to public opinion
Clearly we must recognize that a nuclear accident has a great impact on people due a radiation you do not see, you do not know if it has hit you, you do not know if or when it will effect your health.
  • The Fukushima impact has been larger than that of the Chernobyl disaster; Japan is in fact considered a high-tech country and a very well organized one.
As part of the World Energy Council’s flagship Scenarios study a Nuclear Task Force has been set up to consider the impact of Fukushima incident.
  • Working documents have been drawn up to act as a catalyst for debates within the WEC Nuclear Task Force.
  • The results of a perception survey conducted through our Member Committees has provided the basis for some initial discussion.
  • This will be taken forward by the World Energy Council to support the debate surrounding the future of nuclear as part of the energy mix and inform our Scenarios study.
World Energy Council - Nuclear Task Force
  • Chair:
    • Alessandro Clerici, Chair WEC Study Group “Survey Energy Resources and Technologies”
  • Members contributing to the chapters of report:
    • Alexander Zafiriou, Political Affairs & Corporate Communications, E.ON AG
    • Fernando Naredo, VP, Govt Affairs, Europe, Westinghouse
    • Hans-Wilhelm Schiffer, Senior Manager, General Economics Policy/Science, RWE
    • Helen El-Mallakh, Associate Director, International Research Centre for Energy and Economic Development (ICEED)
    • Ionut Purica, Senior Researcher, Romanian Academy
    • Laurent Joudon Director, Strategy Division EDF
    • Paulo Cesar Fernandez, Senior Electrical Engineer, Eletrobras (Brazil)
  • WEC Executive:
    • Christoph Frei, Secretary General, WEC
    • Karl Rose, Director of Scenarios and Assessment, WEC
    • Philip Thomas, Project Manager Scenarios, WEC London
WEC - Nuclear Taskforce

The Future of Nuclear


Chapter 1– Introduction

Chapter 2– Recommendations

Chapter 3– Findings from the WEC Nuclear Survey 2011

Chapter 4 – Current Status of Nuclear

Chapter 5– Nuclear Technology: What has changed, what is better now

Chapter 6 – Pros and Cons

Chapter 7 – Externalities of Electricity Generation

Chapter 8 – Public Reaction to Nuclear Energy in Light of Fukushima

Chapter 9 – Governance

Chapter 10 – WEC Nuclear Survey 2011

Chapter 11 – Letter sent by Pierre Gadonneix, Chairman of the World Energy Council on March 31st, 2011

Chapter 12 – Communiqués from G8 Meetings

The world Situation at March 10, 2011
  • 442 reactors in operation in 30 countries for ~375 GW.
  • 65 reactors under construction in 16 countries (27 in China) for ~63 GW with the exclusion of the Japanese ABWR, all the others are PWR reactors.
  • Implementation of life extension up to 50 – 60 years for old reactors in operation in many countries (cheap kWh, no CO2 emissions).
  • The Chernobyl effect (large accident) no more on top of oppositions, more concentrated on final waste disposal / costs of NPP’s / NIMBY.
  • A “nuclear renaissance” due to:
  • Volatile and expected high prices for fossil fuels
    • Environmental concerns for CO2 emission and its penalization
    • Security of supply
  • with 158 reactors planned and 326 proposed in 47 countries (from WNA).
  • Cumulated shutdown reactors at end of 2010:
    • 125 NR’s for ~37,800 MW of which 28 USA, 26 UK, 19 Germany, 12 France.
The post Fukushima
  • Out of the existing 30-plus countries that have nuclear energy programs, a few countries appear to have experienced the most profound public reactions and public policy changes: Japan, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. The most significant development has been in Germany where the government shut down the seven oldest nuclear power plants within a few days following the Fukushima event in addition to the one plant that was temporarily offline due to technical reasons. The German government has decided to keep these 8 facilities closed permanently while it is accelerating its plans to phase out all of its remaining nuclear power plants stepwise by 2022 (Germany has 26% electricity from nuclear).
Notes: (1) Assessment of safety installations (incorporating lessons learned); (2) expected closure of the five nuclear power plant units between 2019 and 2034 (after the end of approximately 50 years of operating time); (3) immediate shutdown of 8 nuclear installations following the Fukushima event and phased-out closure of remaining power plants as fast as possible, independently from safety aspects; (4) possible partial modification of safety standards or licensing procedures.
In regions and countries that have long held ambivalent to negative opinions on nuclear energy and its safety, the Fukushima accident will serve as an additional example of why to oppose it and local, national, and regional politics will prevail over the longer-time frame.
  • There will also be an increase of “not in my backyard” mentality, with the general public not wanting facilities/plants in their immediate vicinity or neighbourhood. In particular, these will be a larger issue for those living in areas vulnerable to natural disasters.
  • Possible increased cost of NPP’s for increased security / safety rules, longer permission times and increased costs of risks insurances.
Those in favour of nuclear energy will call for improved safety procedures and plans andpoint out that the global community can learn from Fukushima; this according to the history of nuclear power of constant improvement and technological development based on lessons learned both by vendors and owners that operate reactors.
  • This has been the inspiration to vendors for the so-called Generation III reactors, currently being built in several countries. These new reactors have typically a 60 year design life, a higher than 90% availability, a 12-24 month fuel cycle, a 10-7 probability of radiation releases with no external effect, a very low occupational radiation exposure, capability to withstand impact of large airplanes .
In any case, we can note that in some countries, decisions have been made to continue / start with the construction of new nuclear power plants after March 11. It is worth mentioning Saudi Arabia has reiterated its commitment to build 16 new nuclear plants to be in operation from 2020 to 2030, Jordan with the qualification of 3 suppliers; Vietnam, after the supply agreement with the Russians of 2 reactors has signed a nuclear deal with a consortium of the 3 Japanese giants (Hitachi Toshiba and Mitsubishi), Hungary has confirmed their plants and Poland has formalized an agreement with GE. The Czech Republic has issued a bid for 2 reactors. Chinahas started after March 11 the construction of two new reactors and India and Pakistan one. Russia has signed contracts with Belarus and Bangladeshto supply in each country 2 reactors.
WEC Member Committees Survey
  • A survey has been conducted in 30 MC’s where nuclear plants are in operation in their countries.
  • Here below is reported the summary of the answers to the questions.
WEC Member Committees Survey
  • A WEC member survey shows that most countries that have existing nuclear power installations believe that their own national nuclear authority is independent, resourced, transparent, and empowered with enforcement. Butmost respondents also answered with a lot of uncertainty with regard to the perception of other countries nuclear governance.
  • While there seems to be relatively high political support for the adoption and convergence of international safety regulations, there seems to be comparatively lower political support for the international enforcement of safety standards.
  • The response has been unanimous that the media affects the public discourseof nuclear energy the most.
  • The most pressing barrier for the future of nuclear has been identified as public perception, followed by lack of policy. Skills shortage was not deemed a major barrier.
When asked about the potential for substitution fuels, gas has emerged as the clear winner globally, (and to a less extent coal) with biomass being a strong contender. Wind and FV are only mentioned in countries with high potential.
  • Higher electricity prices have been deemed as the most direct implication of nuclear substitution, with energy security concerns and higher GHG emissions also highlighted by many countries.

The real looser could be not nuclear but final consumers and the environment

  • Regional analysis further shows that the perception of nuclear safety in developing countries has not changed significantly compared to developed countries.
Consequences for shutdown of NPP’s
  • As an extreme and unrealistic case the shutdown of the present 2,600 TWh production worldwide from nuclear plants would mean:
    • additional consumption of 700 MTEP/year of fossil fuels (more than 25% of present global gas consumption);
    • additional emissions of 2 bt CO2 / per year.
Governance of nuclear risks
  • Risk profiles are reactor dependent and site dependent and therefore response capabilities will have to be different, which makes discussions about minimum safety standards problematic.
  • National boundaries are irrelevant when considering the impact of nuclear incidents and there is still room for improvement of international governance arrangements. Currently, nuclear governance rests with nation states, along with a limited level of oversight provided by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and peer review arrangements such as WANO(World Association of Nuclear Operators).
In all cases the sovereignty of the state supersedes that of IAEA who with WANO can operate onlythroughpeer reviews/ consensus and technical supportand access to a global library of operating experience.
  • Under the existing system of nuclear governance there is clear need to strengthen global regulation of nuclear energy.
  • In line with this train of thoughts, the following points were highlighted by the WEC nuclear task force.
Recommendations from WEC
  • Standards - National Nuclear Safety Agencies must adopt the IAEA’s minimum safety operation, maintenance, and transparency standards, including site location parameters, and training certification.
  • Verification - The IAEA should be empowered to work with each enhanced National Nuclear Safety Agency to verify adherence to the IAEA’s minimum safety standards. Such verification should be publicly available to enhance transparency.
  • Design -The IAEA should produce an international accreditation standard for reactor design.
  • Finance - Funding mechanisms should be revised to ensure compliance.
  • Structure- At national and international level there should be unbundle of responsibilities for promotion and safety to reduce the potential for conflicts of interest.
  • Given their accountability, under the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) is the most practical organisation to achieve the required improvements in global governance for the nuclear energy sector. Governments, working through the United Nations, must therefore empower the IAEA.
The Pros and Cons still remain


  • No CO2 emissions
  • No volatile cost of kWh and very interesting value in medium/long time perspective due to expected high costs of fossil fuels and CO2
  • Independency from foreign fuels and security of supply
  • Possible contribution to elimination of nuclear weapons
  • Wave of innovation; fall-out on local industry during construction and technological qualification of companies
  • Volatile renewables need back up capacity and programmable production and nuclear is the only CO2 free source (nuclear and RES are not in competition but complementary)
The Pros and Cons still remain


  • Fear of large accidents, with global consequences; due to human errors, natural events, terrorism
  • Acceptability and times for authorizations
  • Financing of merchant plants without government subsidies.
  • Deposits of nuclear waste and plant decommissioning
  • The future is of RES
  • Doubts on Uranium actual reserves
Key variables that will affect global public perception of nuclear energy going forward
  • The ability of the Japanese government, the nuclear industry, and the Fukushima facility to deal with the aftermath.
  • The short- and long-term effects on the local community.
  • Another disaster.