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    Alonso Romero: Mexico needs more nuclear energy

    May 25, 2023 - CE Noticias Financieras


      The modern world uses energy primarily in three forms: heat, liquid fuel (gasoline, diesel) and electricity. The challenge in the coming years will be to increase the quality of life of citizens, which requires higher energy consumption, while reducing environmental impacts. Let us remember that energy consumption is not a goal, but a tool to increase the quality of life, and

      with this in mind, several solutions have been proposed to reduce the environmental impact of all the energy we consume. Electrifying everything is seen as a possible solution; however, there is also talk of using hydrogen to replace liquid fuels, to generate heat through combustion and even for storage. There is talk of making this change with solar and wind power along with batteries (VRE) as the basis of the energy system. The problem? Following this model will make energy incredibly expensive and will fail to stop environmental deterioration.

      The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development confirms this as of 2019 in its study The costs of decarbonization: costs of systems with high shares of nuclear and VRE . There is no system with more expensive energy than one based on VRE. JP Morgan's Eye on the Market Annual Energy Paper: Growing Pains: The Renewable Transition in Adolescence shows the direct relationship between VRE and electricity prices. The higher the VRE share, the higher the price.


      contrast, the study Electricity prices and public ownership: Evidence from the EU15 over thirty years shows that countries with nuclear power (which is associated with state participation) observe electricity prices that are on average 20 percent lower.

      In environmental matters, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, in its Life Cycle Analysis of Electricity Generation Options, shows that there is no electricity with lower CO2 emissions than nuclear power, only 6 g per kwh. This considering the entire life cycle of the nuclear plant (construction, operation and shutdown). But CO2 emissions are not the only environmental impacts that exist. REVs are massively dependent on mining and the material requirements are much higher than other sources. In fact, the International Energy Agency, in The Critical Role of Minerals in the Clean Energy Transition, reminds us that there is no energy source with a lower environmental impact than nuclear power. VRE requires 10 to 12 times more minerals for each unit of energy generated compared to nuclear power (and this is not counting the gigantic mineral requirements for the extra transmission lines needed in a VRE system and for batteries). It is curious that there are people who think we are going to save the world from environmental destruction by mining it.

      The reality is that nuclear power can be the basis of a clean and efficient energy system. We can generate the heat we require for industrial processes with nuclear power. Currently about 70 percent of the energy generated in a nuclear reaction is wasted as heat. Hydrogen? Pink hydrogen, produced with nuclear, is the cleanest of all. Even water desalination can be done, helping to alleviate the country's water stress. All


      this is not a dream; currently, all these uses are given to nuclear energy in submarines.

      Here we have an industrial vocation and with nearshoring this will multiply even more. This means that we need an energy supply that is reliable, constant, clean, safe and, above all, (if we want to be competitive with other countries) cheap. There is no energy source that achieves all these characteristics more than nuclear power. The human capital exists and studies have been conducted that confirm that it is feasible to install two additional reactors at the same site. This would bring the share of nuclear power to about 9 percent of the electricity produced nationally. In parallel, we can install small modular reactors to replace conventional thermoelectric boilers. In my opinion, we should reach the point where at least 75 percent of electricity is produced through nuclear energy. It is undoubtedly the best investment, far superior to REVs. So much so that the IMF in its study Building Back Better: How Big are Green Spending Multipliers calculates the economic multipliers of different sources of power generation. Nuclear power has a multiplier of four vs. just one for REVs. What are we waiting for? The future of clean, safe, reliable and cheap energy is clear - it's nuclear power!

      Twitter: @aloyub


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