Nuclear Energy and Society: Russian Dimension
Russian Research Centre “Kurchatov Institute” (Russia)
Since the very beginning of its brief history, nuclear energy was doomed to public attention − because of its first application. For 50 years of existence it failed to become one of traditional energy technologies, which the society would assess on the basis of its actual advantages (such as energy efficiency, resource availability and environmental acceptability).
Nuclear weapons and crisis of confidence resulting from severe accidents have both formed the attitude to nuclear. This paper considers the basic antinuclear arguments, such as proliferation, waste and severe accidents.
The current status of relations between nuclear energy and the public is still close (not only in Russia, but also in almost all European countries) to this state of politicization of nuclear and constant irrational fear radiation causes among people.
Nevertheless, the positive trend in the attitude towards nuclear energy is obvious, both in Russia and in the world.
In 2006, the long-expected “new nuclear energy policy” (with returned budgetary financing of the new nuclear build) was announced in Russia at the highest governmental level. After that the worldwide recognition of the need to develop nuclear energy was only growing.
The scale of global energy development is so large that all sources capable of making a contribution will find their demand. In the same time, public opinion in the world inseparably connects the issue of energy security with measures to combat climate changes.
The “2°C problem”, if solvable at all, could be addressed only by simultaneous implementation of all possible emission reduction measures (including carbonfree energy technologies) on an unprecedented scale. Emission-free nuclear energy can actually become a system capable of sustainable and prompt development.
This paper considers the issues, which could hamper nuclear development and negatively impact the public attitude towards nuclear.
© SFEN 2010