Issue No.7 Winter
(January 2005)


ENS News

ENS President Wishes for 2005

Obituary: Jiri Suchomel

Listening to others

ENS Events

PIME 2005

RRFM 2005

ETRAP 2005

ENA: a high level summit

Member Societies & Corporate Members

News from Germany

YGN Report

Current activities

Visit of Belgopress

European Institutions

November 2004 Energy Council

Seminar on the High Flux Reactor (Petten)

Joint Seminar on Nuclear Waste


ENS World News

NucNet News

Global 2005

PSA' 05

ENS Members

Links to ENS Member Societies

Links to ENS Corporate Members

Editorial staff
RRFM 2005RRFM 2005
PIME 2005PIME 2005

















































Swedish Report Highlights Benefits Of ‘Sustainable’ Uranium

A new report published in Sweden says that uranium should be regarded as a “long-term sustainable resource” that has an important role to play in the sustainable development of future energy sources.

Known uranium reserves will last for “hundreds of years with present-day technology”… and “can be expected to last for thousands of years” as new reactor types are developed, says the report, published in December 2004 by the Analysis Group of the Swedish Nuclear Training and Safety Centre (KSU)*.

The report acknowledges “uncertainties” in the economics of some future types of reactors, but says: “It is already clear that there is a considerable development potential for nuclear power technology, following several lines of development, so that much better use can be made of the fuel raw material than in present-day reactors. There is therefore justification for the claim that the world’s uranium resources can suffice for increased nuclear power production for thousands
of years.”

Discussing estimates of how long uranium reserves will last, the report argues that present economically viable deposits are regarded as being those with concentrations of at least 0.1% uranium, and on that basis “available reserves would last for 50 years at the present rate of

However, the report argues, “doubling the price of uranium, which would have only little effect on the overall cost of nuclear power, would increase reserves to hundreds of years”.

By way of example, the report looks at Sweden where it says, “in rough figures”, nuclear power costs not more than 20 Swedish öre per kilowatt hour (kWh) to produce (100 öre being equivalent to 0.11 euros) – inclusive of the costs of capital, modernisation, operation and
maintenance, fuel disposal, taxes and levies.

“Nuclear power generation in Sweden today pays all its own costs, including those of future waste disposal, and receives no public subsidies. In fact, if anything, it is a golden-egg-laying goose for the state,” says the report. It also points out that Swedish nuclear power utilities pay the equivalent of more than 221 million euros a year in total under levies imposed by Sweden’s special nuclear power tax and electricity tax [see also News No. 91, 3rd March 2003].

The report says that almost 3 öre of nuclear’s variable cost of 3.5 öre per kWh in Sweden is for the fuel. “This means that a doubling in the cost of natural uranium, from 1 öre per kWh to 2 öre per kWh would increase the total cost of nuclear power from 20 öre per kWh to 21 öre per kWh (a 5% increase).”

If the price of natural gas was doubled, the cost of gas-fired power would increase by about 60%, while doubling the price of coal would increase the cost of power production in a large coal-fired power station by about 30%, the report claims.

Swedish Report Highlights Benefits Of ‘Sustainable’ Uranium

In terms of the “sustainability” of uranium, the report describes a “classic definition” of sustainable development as that formulated by the former Norwegian prime minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland. (Dr Brundtland chaired the World Commission of Environment and Development – the Brundtland Commission – when it published a report in 1987 that said: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”)

The Swedish report says: “No parts of the nuclear fuel cycle emit significant quantities of carbon dioxide. It has been claimed that enrichment of uranium requires large quantities of electricity, most of which is produced in coal-fired power stations, and therefore contributes to the greenhouse effect. This is a distorted picture, as the amount of electricity required by a modern enrichment facility to produce a given quantity of enriched uranium is about one-thousandth of the amount of electricity that that quantity of uranium will subsequently generate.”

In terms of nuclear waste, the report points out that all the costs of future safe waste storage are paid. It refers to the waste from planned Swedish nuclear power production – 12 units with an installed capacity of 10,000 megawatts – that “could be held in a single deep repository” about the size of an indoor sports arena. The report adds : “Nuclear power does not, in other words, leave any problems for coming generations”. The 12 units include unit one of the Barsebäck
nuclear power plant that was shut down in 1999 [see also News No. 217, 17th December 2004].

In conclusion, the report says nuclear power does not necessarily need to become a “dominant” energy source in the long term, although “there is a need for society today to accept nuclear power as one of many energy sources that will make it possible to continue to produce the electricity required and to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and their climate effects”.

*The Analysis Group’s latest report – “Uranium - a sustainable energy source” – is available in printed form in Swedish and English, and can also be downloaded in pdf format from the Group’s website (

Source: Analysis Group / KSU
Editor: John Shepherd


Climate Of Opinion Puts Nuclear Back On Poland’s Energy Agenda

More than a decade ago, nuclear energy specialists in Poland warned political leaders about the environmental and economic risks of the country turning its back on nuclear power.

Their warnings about the threat to the environment of heavy domestic dependence on burning fossil fuels [see Background No. 37, 15th July 1993] were lost in the fog of political debate and, in 1990, the development of nuclear power in Poland was halted by a parliamentary decision.

However, the present day government has now embraced nuclear again – largely due to environmental concerns. In the energy policy document accepted by the cabinet on 4th January 2005, the government acknowledged that Poland would need a nuclear power plant to be in commercial operation within the next 17 years [see News No. 3, 5th January 2005].

When the country’s earlier nuclear programme was halted, construction work was 60% completed on what was to be Poland’s first nuclear power plant – the two-unit Zarnowiec plant on the Baltic coast. The National Atomic Energy Agency said later that financial difficulties prompted the decision to stop building.

Although nuclear plant construction ended, statistics continued to show that Poland needed to have nuclear as part of its future energy mix if the country was to help combat climate change. In 1999, the Polish national committee of the World Energy Council said the country would almost certainly have to develop a nuclear power programme within the next 20 years in order to meet its international commitments on stabilising greenhouse gas emissions [see News No.283, 5th July 1999].

In 2002, a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency – “Comparative studies of energy supply options in Poland for 1997-2020” – said although no new nuclear capacity was forecast in any scenario over the period under study: “It should be emphasised that beyond 2020 the prospects for nuclear energy (or some new technology) might be brighter, taking into account that domestic coal production will be limited and the import of natural gas is constrained by the
existing and presently planned pipeline infrastructure as well as for energy security reasons.”

Also in 2002, the European Electricity Market Outlook report published by the Finnish federation of energy industries, Finergy, said between 60,000 and 70,000 megawatts of additional installed electricity production capacity would be needed in several countries – including Poland – over the next 10 years.

The Finergy report took no position with regard to energy policy options, but highlighted the fact that Europe as a whole would soon have to come to terms with the same supply and demand fundamentals that led to Finland’s decision (in May 2002) to construct a new nuclear power unit
[see News No. 275, 26th August 2002].

Although Poland has no nuclear plants in operation at present, the country is successful in the use of radioactivity and radioisotopes in medical diagnosis and treatment, agriculture and industry.

Source: Polish Council of Ministers / Various
Editor: John Shepherd

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