by Anouk Ter Brugge
European Nuclear Society Young Generation Network (ENS-YGN)
Innovation in the sustainable nuclear sector
When opening a random magazine or paper you will read something about innovation. In every field innovations are very important. Without any innovations that industry will slowly stop. For example the Dutch “wooden shoes”. These have been around for a very long time. But nowadays they are not the shoes anymore, everybody wears in the Netherlands (really). The shoe makers that started producing also other types of shoes are still in business. The shoe makers that didn’t innovate are hardly there anymore. Therefor it is important to innovate!
Last Wednesday there was a side event about ”connecting roadmaps for innovative nuclear energy”. David Shropshire (IAEA) presented the developments in de SMR (small modular reactors) and genIV reactors. Chris White (URENCO) presented the U-battery, basically a type of SMR. Also a presentation was given about a new type of reactor fuel that by its structure could prevent a reactor from a melt-down.
One new type of genIV reactor that has a lot of potential is de MSR – Molten Salt Reactor. In the MSR the primary coolant and fuel is a molten salt mixture. In a lot of countries research is done and small scaled reactors to prove the concept have been build. This type of reactor is a very efficient, inherent save and low carbon. And is therefore a good solution to fight climate change!
One of the countries that have been developing this new type of reactor is Canada. On Wednesday they got the great news: the Canadian nuclear safety commission (CNSC) concluded its reactor design broadly complies with regulatory standards. This means they can take the next step in commercializing the next generation of reactors! And innovation in nuclear is still going on.
No Public Finance for Fossil Fuels
1.5 is key
In the Bonn Zone, a group of young environmental activists have made a demonstration and reading a text interspersed by the chorus “No Public Finance for Fossil Fuels, 1.5 is key”. Funny thing, behind them a video of the increase of temperature of Germany in the past 50 years. When you know that Germany have built about 9 GW of Coal Plants between 2011 & 2016 and closed only 3.5 GW, you just want to say them “yeah you got the right points” and want to sing with them “No Public Finance for Fossil Fuels, 1.5 is key”.
A few days before COP23, about 3000 Young Folks have invaded the lignite coal mine Hambach near Bonn to protest against the use of coal and the increase of coal power such as in the German energy mix. Coal is responsible of about 23,000 deaths in Europe every year due to air pollution and the biggest producer of GHG in the world. Stopping coal is an urgent matter to reach the goal of staying below 1.5 degC and avoid millions of death in the world.