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Climate Action 2009-2010

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© 2009 Jupiterimages Unlimited, a division of Getty Images. Siting: AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT OF ANY NUCLEAR PROGRAMME THAT WARRANTS EARLY CONSIDERATION SPECIAL FEATURE 144 There is a clear scientific consensus that nuclear power is a proven, available technology that could be expanded substantially to reduce future greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, any country considering development of a nuclear power programme should not do so lightly, and must recognise the significant time commitment and complexities involved. A NUCLEAR POWER PROGRAMME In its publication titled Milestones in the Development of a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power (the IAEA Milestone Guide), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) estimates that the introduction of a new nuclear power programme involves a 100-year commitment to create and maintain a national infrastructure, and that it will take 10 to 15 years from the decision to launch such a programme to the operation of the first nuclear plant. Over this period, those developing nuclear programmes will be confronted by numerous complex and interrelated challenges. The IAEA Milestone Guide outlines 19 essential programme elements and, with respect to each element, highlights issues to consider at three distinct stages – at the time of making a knowledgeable commitment to nuclear; at the point of inviting bids for services; and upon commissioning operations. Addressing each programme element in a logical and cost-efficient manner, and in the right sequence, may be the difference between 19 insurmountable obstacles and 19 pillars of a successful programme. For example, certain elements will become the foundation from which other elements will be developed, and they are also relatively inexpensive. Developing a national position statement, the necessary legislative framework, and the implementing regulations would appear to fall into this category. Other programme elements by definition will be slow to develop and involve considerable cost, such as the development of nuclear capability and experience among the indigenous population, an electric grid sufficient to support eventual nuclear operation, and a security and physical protection regime necessary to receive and possess nuclear material. PRELIMINARY SITE SURVEYS One element that should be explored early, and can be done on a relatively cost-effective and graded basis, is a preliminary site survey. Site surveys involve applying an increasing number of technical and socioeconomic criteria to an ever decreasing number of potential sites or geographic areas. Initially, the survey would employ relatively objective technical exclusionary criteria to eliminate sites or regions. As the name suggests, exclusionary criteria are those that, if not met, exclude that site or region from further consideration. Exclusionary criteria involve such subjects as geology and tectonics, seismology, population profiles, the availability of an adequate water supply for plant cooling, and other selected infrastructure considerations. Once certain areas have been eliminated from further consideration, refined and more exacting criteria are applied relative to these same technical areas, and socioeconomic considerations are weighed. Such considerations include environmental protection, risks from other manmade facilities, ease of access, public interaction and interest, and vulnerability to malicious acts. Through early conduct of a site survey applying exclusionary criteria at relatively minor expense, a country can eliminate certain potential sites and regions, and have a scientific basis to consider a limited number of sites in more detail. Narrowing the number of potential sites early, based upon sound science, also has an added benefit when testing stakeholder and public support, investor interest, and the willingness of continued industry involvement. Experience also shows that programme development is accelerated when conducted along with an actual project, as opposed to a theoretical concept. Site selection can test project feasibility without the significantly greater expense involved in choice of technology and reactor design, and the purchase of long-lead components. Author Jay M Gutierrez is a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. He is the leader of the Energy Practice. Enquiries Email: VISIT: WWW.CLIMATEACTIONPROGRAMME.ORG

TRANSPORT Greening European transport with sustainable biofuels More and more drivers are discovering the advantages of switching to sustainable biofuels. Matthias Ruete, Director-General for enerGy anD transport at the european commission The new European Union (EU) Climate and Energy policy legislation has made the EU the frontrunner in the fight against global climate change. At the same time it provides a major contribution towards tackling the challenge of energy security. This new legislation includes a framework for renewable energy and binding targets for 2020 with a 20 per cent overall share of renewable energy and a 10 per cent renewable energy share in transport. It represents a green “new deal” which will encourage innovation, provide new business opportunities and create new green jobs. It also includes the first biofuels sustainability scheme that is binding for both European producers and international producers exporting to the EU market. We want to prove that sustainably-produced biofuels and the use of other types of renewable energy in transport can significantly improve the environmental performance of the transport sector. We also want to demonstrate that these aims can go together with the competitiveness of the European economy and sustainable development in our Member States as well as in third countries. WHY DOES EUROPE NEED MORE BIOFUELS? There are good reasons for an ambitious renewable energy policy in transport, including an increasing use of biofuels. Like any other element of our energy policy, it ties in with objectives of sustainability, competitiveness and security of supply. Firstly, biofuels will contribute to sustainability because biofuels are produced from plants that absorb the CO 2 they generate when they are burnt. We want to decarbonise transport by 2050. While it is true that the growth, transformation and transport of biofuels involve energy consumption and CO 2 emissions, so too does the extraction, refining and transport of oil, while the latter does not absorb any CO 2 . Secondly, for security of supply reasons, Europe needs to increase the use of renewable energy in transport, including biofuels. Most of the biofuels consumed in Europe can also be produced in the EU. That will reduce substantially our foreign oil dependency which is set to increase significantly in the years to come. The transport sector, with a dependency on oil of more than 90 per cent, is particularly vulnerable to fluctuations in foreign supplies and biofuels are currently the only alternative to oil in this sector. A third reason for more biofuels in Europe is maintaining our competitiveness. Growing energy crops is a positive agricultural alternative for European farmers. Many other countries also see bioenergy as a potential chance to increase their exports and to create new income and work opportunities for their farmers. Strict sustainability requirements will ensure that biofuels development does not harm the environment or social wellbeing in producer areas. BIOFUELS 145 VISIT: WWW.CLIMATEACTIONPROGRAMME.ORG