Nuclear energy, green energy, by Joaquim Coll

Don’t worry, no nuclear lobby has paid me to write this article, just as I’m sure manufacturers of renewables do not subsidize the environmentalist parties nor do they reward those who have shouted to the heavens because the European Commission has incorporated nuclear energy into its green taxonomy. In the energy transition we risk everything, to start the future of humanity, but also the risk of a European dependence on gas from Putin’s Russia, so that we deserve a serene debate, without prejudice and based on scientific rigor. Indeed, it was inevitable that the nuclear debate would break out in the face of evidence that we are headed for climate disaster if we fail to decarbonize our way of life.

Unfortunately, we are not going to be able to achieve with renewables alone –with the technology available today– the goal of zero emissions in 2050, and it is almost impossible right now to prevent the average temperature from rising above 1.5 degrees in 2030. Although the European Commission’s proposal does not affect public investment, but instead seeks to stimulate private investment through Tax aid for energy with a lower impact environmental, the concept “green & rdquor; has raised a cloud of disqualifications, particularly against nuclear power plants. From the outset, it must be said that there is no absolutely green energy, nor is there so-called renewable energy (solar, photovoltaic, hydroelectric or wind). Throughout its life cycle, from are manufactured, installed and at some point disassembled, They all generate greenhouse gases. Therefore, it is important to know which technologies pollute more and which less over time. Well, a report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe has compared the different energies and concluded that coal by far, but also gas, are the most harmful, while the nuclear comes out very well valued, even ahead of solar technologies, and only slightly below hydro and wind.

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The European Commission’s proposal is pragmatic because by incorporating gas, although conditional on a reduction in its CO2 emissions, to the fact that its production cannot be covered with renewables and that it mainly replaces coal, it tries to overcome the opposition of Germany, installed in an anti-nuclear discourse for historical reasons, whose commitment is to Russian gas as a transition energy. In fact, the main European economy, Despite its mega plans in renewables, it is setting a bad example and the new Minister of Economy and Climate Protection, Robert Habeck, has already anticipated that Germany will fail to meet its short-term objectives. And the reason is none other than the abandonment of atomic energy, the closure this year of all its plants, a decision that Angela Merkel took in 2011 after the Fukushima accident. On the other side is France, with a bet that has now intensified in favor of nuclear power, which allows it to have a highly decarbonized electricity mix and offer cheaper prices to consumers.

The disqualifications against nuclear energy that are often heard do not hold up. The problem of waste is pointed out as a poisoned gift for future generations, when today the management is absolutely safe and efficient. It is stated that they require a very expensive investment with the support of the State, which is true, but it also occurs with renewable energies that in Spain have cost us 6,000 million in annual premiums for two decades. And, of course, no one is against it. Right now 54 new plants are being built around the world (and there are 99 more in planning) which, together with the 443 in operation, confirms that they are profitable long-term investments. In Spain, the nuclear moratorium has been one of the biggest political mistakes in our energy history, and this is how we pay today in the electricity bill because of the gas. All in all, seven reactors supply 22% of the electricity (in Catalonia it represents 50%), but they are old plants whose licenses expire in 2030. Brussels calculates that half a billion euros would have to be invested in new reactors by 2050. And, in Spain, why not? More science and less prejudice will save the planet.

Reference-www.elperiodico.com

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