Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said global society is now faced with a resources crisis, energy crisis, and environment crisis. Given the growing demand for energy and a dearth of resources, securing future energy resources will be the urgent pending common task all humans will have to handle, not an issue of a specific country, he predicted.
Gwyneth Graven, a renowned American journalist, said the reality is that there is no alternative but nuclear power before new and renewable energy sources are proliferated in a full-fledged manner. He said it is desirable to implement policies to strengthen the safety of nuclear power rather than departing from nuclear power in order to replace fossil fuels such as petroleum and coal, the culprits of global warming. Graven is the author of the book “Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy,” in which he claims nuclear power is a safe energy source and an essential preventive of global warming.
On the occasion of the first anniversary of the latest nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan, roughly 600 energy experts from around the world discussed how to secure future energy at the 2012 Energy Future Symposium, organized by Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP) at the Grand InterContinental Hotel in Seoul on March 8.
Korean and international energy experts discuss how to secure future energy at the 2012 Energy
Future Symposium at the Grand InterContinental Hotel in Seoul on March 8.
Pachauri, a Nobel Peace prize laureate, said there is no specific data on the ramifications the uses of fossil fuels have on the environment, but he warned that if no actions are taken against greenhouse gas emissions it will exacerbate the destruction of the marine ecosystem, food security, and natural disasters, so human beings will be faced with a catastrophe.
“If energy resources are consumed at current levels, the average temperature of the earth will go up a minimum of 1.8 degrees Celsius and a maximum of 4 degrees by the end of the 21st century,” he noted.
Graven said most people have vague misgivings over nuclear power due to a lack of the knowledge of it. For instance, the general public perceives radioactive waste as dangerous, but experts see it as an energy resource because radwaste can be recycled as an energy source up to 98 percent and it can be treated to make it safer.
Vice Minister of Trade and Energy Cho Suk cited nuclear power as the most realistic energy resource to cope with climate change.
Vice Minister for Trade and Energy Cho Suk speaks at the forum organized by the
Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co.
Cho said, “The world is riddled with great crises such as the depletion of fossil fuels and climate change, and Korea will have to cut greenhouse gas emissions on a business-as-usual basis by 2020, so nuclear power generation is the most realistic option under the low-carbon, green growth paradigm.”
By 2015, Korea plans to pour 1.1 billion won into efforts to ramp up the safety of nuclear power plants in operation in Korea in the wake of the Japanese nuclear disaster.
The IPCC chairman recognized nuclear power as an important energy source, but expressed reservations about an increase in nuclear power generation. He said nuclear power, which has strengths and weaknesses, is a policy issue each country will have to address. The Fourth Assessment Report by the IPCC predicts that nuclear power, which accounts for 17 percent of the world’s energy supply, will increase in the future. Pachauri stressed the need for the development of new and renewable energy sources to address climate change.
The afternoon session on technology discussed changes about safety after the Fukushima nuclear accident and steps to beef up safety management.
Kang Chang-soon, chairman of the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC), said, “The Japanese nuclear accident has served as an opportunity to reflect on the significance of nuclear power.” The NSSC, inaugurated last year, is devoting itself to ensuring nuclear power safety in Korea, he said.
Kang also stressed close cooperation with nuclear power businesses rather than unilaterally imposing regulatory measures -- securing safety through collaboration among participants in all stages ranging from design to management.