The emergence of low-cost shale gas will not be a hindrance to the development of nuclear energy, Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Rosatom, assured the guests gathered at the 17th St Petersburg International Economic Form (SPIEF), which is taking place in Russia’s northern capital from June 20–22.
Forecasts suggest that by 2020, the world will have 460 gigawatts of energy generating capacity. What’s more, experts at the SPIEF noted that 15 of the top 20 natural gas producing states in the world have solid nuclear development programs in place.
There are two reasons for this. The first is that current uranium reserves should last for another 100–150 years. Secondly, unlike oil and gas, nuclear power stations are generally environmentally friendly – if all safety measures are rigorously followed and the mistakes of Fukushima are not repeated, of course.
“Obviously, if shale gas is available in certain places for $30–50 per cubic meter instead of the usual $100, then no one’s going to build any nuclear power stations there – just like no one built nuclear power stations next to coal deposits,” Kiriyenko added.
He went on to say that nuclear energy not only guarantees the stability of fuel prices for the next 60 years or so, but it also creates jobs, thus making a huge contribution to the country’s future.
“In the 1990s, nobody thought that oil prices would top $20 per barrel. And a few years ago, at this very forum, people were saying that prices wouldn’t go any lower than $150 per barrel,” Kiriyenko said about the instability of the raw energy market.
“That’s why we believe nuclear power should occupy around 25–30 percent of the world energy market,” he added.
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