Issue No.9 Summer
(July 2005)


ENS News

ENS President's Contribution

Tapping Unusual Quarters

ENS Events

ETRAP 2005

ENC 2005

PIME 2006

RRFM 2006

Topnux 2006

Member Societies & Corporate Members

News from Germany

News from Romania

News from Czech Republic

YGN Report

Forum 2005

Jan Runermark Award

European Institutions


FORATOM on Baltic sea Region

ENS World News

Japan: green light for Monju

NucNet News

Greenpeace Co-Founder


Karlsruhe Research Center invites applications

ENS Members

Links to ENS Member Societies

Links to ENS Corporate Members

Editorial staff

ETRAP 2005

ETRAP 2005
23-25 November 2005 in Brussels


RRFM 2006RRFM 2006

RRFM 2006
30 April - 3 May 2006 in Sofia, Bulgaria






































































8 July 2005 / Feature N°10/05 / B

Opinion: No Energy Source Should Be Idealised Or Demonised

In an article for the summit of G8* leaders which ends today in Gleneagles, Scotland, the executive director of the International Energy Agency, Claude Mandil, says “no single energy source should be idealised or demonised” in tackling climate change.

Climate change has been high on the agenda of the International Energy Agency (IEA) and of its member countries for years. This is not surprising as 80% of greenhouse gases are emitted through energy production or consumption. The answers to climate change lie in both energy and environmental policies. And the response has to be on a global scale. British prime minister Tony Blair recognised this strong link when he invited the IEA to participate in discussions between the G8 and the outreach countries (Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa) on climate change and other global economic issues.

The starting point for the international effort against global warming is the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which has been signed by almost all countries and which came into effect in 1994. Its ultimate goal is to stabilise the CO2 content of the atmosphere by sharply reducing CO2 emissions worldwide.

Are we on track? Unfortunately not, far from it. According to recent IEA analysis in the “World Energy Outlook 2004” [see also News in Brief No. 47, 2nd November 2004], continuing to do business as usual leads to a 60% increase of CO2 emissions by 2030. It is the result of more world inhabitants, more energy consumption per capita and more fossil fuels in the energy mix. Most of the growth in emissions over the next 25 years will occur in developing countries, yet 1.4 billion people will still not have access to electricity in 2030. Can we curb such disastrous trends in a way consistent with the need for economic growth and poverty alleviation?

The need for action is urgent. Any tonne of carbon dioxide we do not emit today is a tonne our grandchildren will not have to deal with in the future, probably at much higher costs. In the meantime countries will need to deal with the effects of climate change which will also pose a burden on their economies. We need to start today. But how?

In the long term, there is general agreement that significant technology breakthroughs will be needed to solve the problem. Breakthroughs are needed in a number of domains: cost-effective renewables, particularly cheap photovoltaics and advanced biofuels; nuclear, with an acceptable solution for nuclear waste management; energy transportation and use, especially in cars and buildings; and last but not least carbon capture and sequestration, as there is no foreseeable replacement for fossil fuels for quite some time. Hydrogen used in fuel cells is another promising technology.

Governments must actively promote and support energy research and development budgets, and increase cooperative work, both among countries and with the industry. That means not only reversing present trends of shrinking public R&D budgets, but committing more funding and increasing the budgets.

Governments should avoid prematurely picking “winning” technologies. For the time being all avenues will need to be explored and there is no silver bullet. No single energy source should be idealised or demonised. Obviously some technologies seem more promising than others. They should be identified and more efforts should be targeted in these areas, but eventually the winners will be selected by the market.

But in the shorter term, there are steps we can take today. In its “World Energy Outlook 2004”, the IEA produced a so-called “Alternative Scenario” based on more aggressive policies and technology uptake. This scenario merely supposes that the energy mix worldwide includes a little more renewables, a little more nuclear and, most important, that energy efficiency improvements reach again the pace they achieved in the 1970s and 1980s.

These measures would still not stabilise global emissions, and more would need to be done. Nevertheless, the result is impressive: CO2 emissions in the OECD begin to decline in 2020 and by 2030 are 16% lower than the business as usual scenario – some 50 billion tonnes of CO2 could be avoided by 2030.

Much of this is achieved through greater energy efficiency. For example, if OECD households chose more efficient appliances, they could save 30% of the power consumed by OECD appliances. There is also significant potential for energy savings in transport, buildings and industry (including coal-fired power plants), especially in developing economies.

That is not all. Energy efficiency is a policy with double or even triple dividends. While reducing CO2 emissions, it improves energy security of supply as well and, when available at zero or negative costs, it contributes to economic growth. For example, oil saving can help ease the pressures in the oil market by slowing demand and, according to our analysis, help to dampen oil prices by up to 15%.

That is certainly the reason why the governments in most consuming countries have now put energy efficiency among their top priorities. Speaking at the US Energy Efficiency Forum on 15th June 2005, President George Bush stated: “The first step is… to improve conservation and efficiency.”

Gathering for their biennial meeting on 3rd May 2005, energy ministers from the IEA member countries committed to reinforcing their efficiency efforts. The G8 summit agenda is a very timely opportunity to emphasise these commitments and to explore ways of implementing them. But nothing can be achieved within G8 or OECD countries alone. The challenge of climate change needs to be addressed worldwide, taking into account the concerns of developing countries. We mustn’t miss this opportunity!

*The G8 stands for the 'Group of Eight' nations. It began in 1975 when then French president Giscard d'Estaing invited the leaders of Japan, the US, Germany, the UK and Italy to Rambouillet, near Paris, to discuss the economic problems of the day. The group expanded to include Canada in 1976 and Russia in 1998. Unlike many other international bodies, the G8 does not have a fixed structure or a permanent administration. It is up to the country that has the presidency (currently the UK) to set the agenda and organise the annual G8 Summit.

Source: Claude Mandil
Editor: John Shepherd


28 June 2005 / News N°107 /05 / A

EU And Japan’s ‘Privileged Partnership’ Outlined In ITER Accord

The European Commission (EC) has announced details of the agreement reached earlier today that will see the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project based at the EU candidate site of Cadarache, France [see also News Alert No. 2, 28th June 2005].

Although Japan lost its bid to site ITER at its candidate site, in Rokkasho, the EU and Japan will cooperate in what the EU said will be a “privileged partnership”. Highlights of the agreement* are:

  • Japan will provide high-tech components corresponding to 20% of the total procurements for ITER construction;

  • The EU will also make contributions to other (so-called Broader Approach) projects in cash and in kind;

  • The EU will support a “suitable Japanese candidate” as director-general of the planned ITER organisation and Japan will have the right to supply “more than a proportional share” of the organisation’s staff;

  • Some ITER headquarters functions, including meetings of the ITER council, could be based in Japan;

  • If, at a later phase of the project, there is an international agreement to build a demonstration reactor, the EU would support Japan’s candidacy to host it;

  • For the EU, a new organisation will be established in Spain through which contributions (in cash and in kind) will be provided to the ITER organisation.

The ITER project involves the construction of an experimental fusion reactor to assess the feasibility of fusion energy as an energy source and, consequently, the feasibility of constructing a subsequent demonstration reactor – possibly with commercial fusion reactors to follow.

ITER spokesman Bill Spears described the project as “a key step between physics and implementation”. He told NucNet that if ITER proves viable, many countries may want to build their own demonstration reactor. Mr Spears said that if, as the EU indicated, there is an international agreement to build such a unit, Japan would likely host it.

Meanwhile, the six ITER parties will also share the estimated 4.57 billion euro (EUR) construction cost at Cadarache, with the EU and France contributing 50% and the other parties 10% each. Operation costs are expected to total about another EUR 5 billion. The total cost will be spread over 30 years – 10 years for construction and 20 years of operation.

The director-general of Foratom, the trade association of the European nuclear industry, Dr Peter Haug, said: “This will provide a major boost for the European nuclear energy industry and is well-earned recognition of its excellent research credentials.”

Dr Haug, who is also secretary-general of the European Nuclear Society, added that the decision “shows that nuclear energy remains an important energy option and sends out a positive signal that the nuclear industry offers talented young people the opportunity to pursue a challenging and worthwhile career in a sector that is at the cutting edge of modern technology”.

Of the six ITER parties, the EU, Russia and China had favoured basing the project at Cadarache while Japan, the US and South Korea had favoured Rokkasho [see News in Brief No. 46, 21st April 2005].

Negotiations had been deadlocked over the siting since December 2003, preventing progress on technical aspects of the project. But in early 2005 the EU insisted that, if necessary, it could build the ITER reactor in France even without the support of the other parties. In April 2005 the EU and Japan agreed to accelerate talks to reach an agreement [see News in Brief No. 46, 21st April 2005].

In announcing today’s decision at a meeting of the six parties in Moscow, the EC said: “This agreement heralds the end of a deadlock between two alternative sites for the reactor and is an important milestone in the move towards establishing fusion as a sustainable source of energy production.

“Now that this issue has been resolved, the technical work can be carried out to finalise the agreement. It is hoped that it will be possible for all parties to initial the text of the agreement by the end of this year, thereby allowing for the start of construction by the end of 2005.”

*‘ITER and fusion energy research – your questions answered’, is available on the EC’s website (link) together with links to other information about the project.

Source: NucNet /EC
Editor: Daniel MacIsaac

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