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Fueling the energy transition with nuclear: experts gather in Budapest to discuss nuclear technologies

Over 70 delegates and 18 speakers attended a conference in Budapest, jointly organised by the New Nuclear Watch Institute (NWI) and the Institute of Energy for South-East Europe (IENE), to highlight nuclear technologies and their role in fuelling the energy transition in Europe and beyond.

“It is appropriate to hold a forum on Fuelling the energy transition with nuclear in Hungary, one of the European Union member states which is committed to making nuclear an important part of its energy mix,” stated Tim Yeo, Chairman of the New Nuclear Watch Institute. “The presentations and the panels explored how some of the gaps in the commitments made by the European nations can be filled – particularly in Central and Southeast Europe, parts of which remain heavily dependent on fossil fuels for electricity generation. It considered the important contribution which nuclear energy can make, alongside the continued growth of renewable energy capacity to cutting greenhouse gas emissions, stabilising energy prices and strengthening energy security.”

nuclear

Costis Stambolis, Chairman and Executive Director of IENE, noted that the path towards decarbonisation in South-East Europe is arduous, to say the least, given the region’s high dependence on solid fuels which until now have covered the bulk of its electricity needs.

“It is true that over the last five years or so there have been consistent efforts by governments and investors to introduce renewable energy sources, notably solar photovoltaics and wind,” he said. “Yet, with the exception of Greece, Romania and Turkey, their impact is still to be felt. But by augmenting existing infrastructure and introducing new nuclear capacity to the regional grid one could accelerate the decarbonisation drive and also provide much-needed stability in the form of baseload which nuclear is uniquely placed to deliver.”

“As the world faces the pressing challenges of climate change, resource depletion and energy security, it is essential to seek innovative solutions that can meet our growing energy demands while minimising environmental impact,” added Zdenek Obruca, Director in the Consulting and Energy team at Deloitte Czech Republic. “The nuclear industry stands at the forefront of this movement and this conference aims to illuminate the pathways to a successful energy transition.”

The conference ended with a keynote address from William D. Magwood, IV, Director-General of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), who reminded us that “increased use of nuclear energy is being explored by many countries around the world as they address both their commitments to reduce carbon emissions and their essential need to assure energy security for their economic and societal well-being.”

He further stated, “While large-scale nuclear power plants remain important, SMRs are expected to play a key role in hard-to-abate sectors such as: off-grid heat and power in remote regions and mines; high-temperature heat in heavy industries; and potentially, marine propulsion for merchant shipping.”

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