For decades people have been pondering on the same questions: Is nuclear energy worth betting on? Will it be the energy of the future? Is it too dangerous for the humanity to keep developing nuclear facilities around the world?
No wonder that there are many supporters and adversaries. Each party has weighty arguments.
As we know, last year nuclear energy became a special concern for the entire world. The Fukushima meltdown in 2011 (as the result of several earthquakes and tsunamis) reminded everyone that nuclear energy is as dangerous as powerful.
Shortly after the disaster, most nuclear countries started emergency testing of their nuclear power plants to find out whether they are safe enough. Some of them decided to abandon their nuclear plans.
Now let’s have a closer look at the results of such policies and the prospects of nuclear power engineering.
Nuclear Power Engineering: Significance And prospects
Modern energy production and supplies depend on natural resources. In this sector, crude oil accounts for 7%, 29% - coal and peat, 7 – natural gas.
Conventional energy sources
Nuclear energy is widely used to meet the global energy needs. These days nuclear energy is relatively cheap and efficient. In some countries, nuclear power plants are major sources of energy.
Having analyzed numerous stats, the experts of Masterforex-V Academy report that there are some 450 nuclear power plants around the world. Over 60 new plants will be put into operation in the near future. The USA is the world’s leader in terms of nuclear capacities. France is the leader in terms of the share of nuclear energy - over 78%.
Let’s look at how much various countries are dependent on nuclear power:
The image below reflects how many nuclear facilities each European country has and how many new plants are going to be built (given in brackets):
Russia’s Nuclear Sector
Russia has 10 nuclear power plants. They supply over 30% of the country’s energy needs. The Russian authorities bet on nuclear energy, thus improving and expanding the infrastructure.
Moreover, in 2011 Rosatom signed 21 contracts to build nuclear facilities abroad, including India, Turkey, Vietnam, China, Bulgaria, Armenia, Belarus and other countries. The Fukushima disaster only strengthened the confidence in the Russian technologies in the international arena because the number of contracts nearly doubled shortly after the disaster.
Rosatom is expected to increase its proceeds up to $75B by 2030.
As for innovations, not so long ago Russian developers offered to create a floating nuclear power reactor in order to supply the country’s coastal areas with electricity. This type of reactor is said to be safer than conventional nuclear facilities, which is a major factor.
Current Global Tendencies And Forecasts
The Fukushima nuclear disaster gave birth to multiple rumors. According to them, most countries are about to abandon nuclear energy, to close their nuclear facilities and to freeze their nuclear projects.
However, some experts say that the humanity has already reached the point of no return, when people just cannot do without nuclear energy, especially as the global deposits of oil, natural gas and coal keep running low. Nuclear-generated electricity accounts for 16% of all the electricity produced around the world.
Europe. The Fukushima disaster shocked the entire EU. Belgium and Switzerland were the first European countries to abandon their nuclear projects. Germany decided to suspend the work of some of its nuclear power plants. The UK and Italy came up with the same idea.
France, which is the EU’s leader in terms of nuclear capacity, speaks in favor of this type of energy. The thing is that the Japanese disaster made numerous countries revise and test the current condition of their nuclear facilities. The results appeared to be negative. Some countries are still at the crossroads, deciding whether to invest billions in modernizing their nuclear infrastructure or to simply abandon nuclear energy (thus closing all their nuclear facilities).
This year Germany has already stopped 8 of its 30-year-old nuclear power plants. The result is the lack of electricity. Therefore, Germany has to import it from the neighboring countries. However, it is rather costly (1.7 trillion euro). This year Germany is planning to built 120 wind power generators to make up for the lack of energy.
Asia. On the contrary, China is planning to develop its own nuclear infrastructure, especially as its territory is rich in uranium deposits. China’s energy capacities are based on nonrenewable resources (over 70%). Thermal power-stations are harmful to the environment. The Fukushima disaster made the Chinese authorities freeze their nuclear projects but earlier this year the moratorium was canceled.
The bottom line: It is relatively easy to close a nuclear power plant. However, before that, it is necessary to make sure that the country has enough alternative sources of energy to make up for the lack of nuclear power. Germany is a striking example of how hasty decisions can result in much heavier spending.
Alternative Energy Sources
These days many countries around the world bet on solar power. For example, next year China is planning to become the world’s leader in terms of producing solar panels. The USA is planning to increase the share of solar power up to 14% of the country’s total energy consumption. The EU has started a €400B project, which implies setting up solar panels in the Sahara desert and further transporting the energy to Europe through high-voltage underwater cables.
Renewable sources of energy are getting more and more popular with investors. In 2011 the inflow of investment capital in the sector increased by 40% up to $53.5B.
Some experts say that the share of alternative (renewable) energy sources will increase up to 20% in a decade. However, the debt abyss, in which the world is about to fall, may postpone these ambitious plans.
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Will Russia Join OPEC Agreement on Oil Production Cuts?
After OPEC unexpectedly decided to cut their oil production during the unofficial summit in Algeria on September 29,2016, the international community started asking one and the same question, which is whether Russia is actually going to join the agreement. The thing is that Russia was one of the first advocates of this idea and urged every energy nation out there to make this crucial step for their mutual benefit based on higher oil prices and bigger profits from oil exports.
Nassim Taleb: Being Successful is Being Unpredictable
The world is full of unpredictable events happening from time to time. Nobody expected the disintegration of the USSR or the 9/11 terrorist attacks. World War I broke out in an instance and came as a shock to the humanity, doing unprecedented damage to the entire world.
Will Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia Agree on Oil Production?
Today, Algeria is hosting an informal OPEC summit. The used to say that Russia may well join the cartel during this informal summit to discuss the current situation in the global market of crude oil and work out an efficient way to change it for the better. Still, now it is reported that Russia is not going to be participating in the summit since this is a summit for OPEC member only.
As you probably know, the United Kingdom is going to quit the European Union. At the same time, the UK definitely wants to retain its economic ties with the EU after the so-called Brexit, Masterforex-V Academy experts say. When it comes to economic relations with the European Union, Great Britain can follow the example of Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, or the WTO.
How Turkey Benefits From Reconciliation With Russia In Terms Of Geopolitics
After Putin and Erdogan made steps toward reconciling Russian and Turkey, the Russian folks changed their mind as well. Not so long ago, you could see most Russians being hostile to everything that comes from Turkey. Now, this is no longer the case. At least it seems so.
Some experts say that the so-called Brexit may eventually result in the disintegration of the United Kingdom. In particular, Scotland has already made a call for another referendum on independence from the United Kingdom.
More and more experts working in the oil industry start discussing a new wave of price dumping initiated by Saudi Arabia. That thing is that a couple of weeks ago, the Saudis dropped their oil export prices to Asian countries by 0.7-1.3 dollars per barrel.
British Banks Get Their Ratings Cut After Brexit Referendum
Shortly after the results of the Brexit referendum were announced, Standard & Poor's Global Ratings made several steps aimed at cutting the ratings of multiple British banks. This was done in order to show the world that the economic risks in the United Kingdom are growing and the entire British banking system is now in jeopardy.
According to Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, the Brexit-related risks have already started implementing themselves. That’s why he predicts increased volatility in the local economy and financial markets.
To be more specific, the BOE Governor assumes that the risks associated with the UK’s decision to quit the European Union are already there and affecting the entire economic and financial system of Great Britain. This is what is said in the recent report on the UK’s financial system, which is released twice a year by the Bank of England. The thing is that the Brexit is eventually going to trigger a long-term period of economic and financial uncertainty in the United Kingdom, which will make the UK adapt to a new reality.