Atomic energy, climate, and Russia
The rising global temperature must be restricted to well below a two-degree increase. It’s crucial to make electricity production carbon neutral as quickly as possible. Is nuclear power the new game changer for achieving this ambitious goal?
Kathryn Huff of the U.S. Department of Energy estimates nuclear power would need to be doubled, perhaps even tripled, for the world to reach its climate targets. At the Idaho National Laboratory, the largest nuclear power research center in the Western world, U.S. scientists are researching new types of nuclear power plants which are smaller, more efficient, and faster to build.
Turkey and Poland are both newcomers to nuclear power. A giant nuclear power plant with four reactors is currently being built on the Turkish Mediterranean coast, while in Poland, small reactors are planned throughout the country. The idea is simply to replace existing coal-fired power plants with nuclear power plants. New developments from the United States should help make that possible.
In Silicon Valley, Jacob DeWitte has founded Oklo, a startup aiming to reinvent nuclear power. He has the backing of prominent people, including Sam Altman, the co-creator of ChatGPT. Altman wants to take Oklo public. He believes nuclear power is needed to supply enough electricity for the AI revolution.
Russia is a key part of the conversation around nuclear power. The country is the world’s biggest player in the business in terms of building power plants, developing the latest technology, and supplying raw materials. But what does that mean for the future? One controversial issue is that despite sanctions banning the imports of gas, oil, or coal from Russia, uranium can still be imported.