Weekend Feature: Should Norway turn to Nuclear Energy?
Norway should therefore be prepared to increase international co-operation in this field, according to scientific researchers quoted by Aftenposten.
An independent research project group under the banner of the Norwegian Research Council, has recently presented various, and different scenarios for the development of energy resources over the next decade.
One of the main recommendations is that Norway must maintain its research into the use of nuclear energy. This has been carried out for a number of years at among other places the Halden Reactor and at the Institute for Energy Technology at Kjeller.
This research has been under criticism from the environment movements for a number of years.
'Many of the scenarios hold forth that there is an increased interest internationally in the use of nuclear energy, with all the possibilities this will mean for Norwegian interests in technology in the same fields, i.e. material research, security, administration and automation'.
This was stated in a recent report from a group which included representatives from, Hydro, NTNU, Sintef, Norway’s Water and Electricity Authority as well as Lyse Energy.
CHOICE BETWEEN PLAGUE OR CHOLERA
The group thinks that atomic energy may again come up when the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions become evident.
'Discussions take the form of a choice between ‘Plague or Cholera’, and are evident in the scenarios that lack technologic break through,' the group writes.
Project leader Hans Otto Haaland from the Research Council underlines the fact that the group has not suggested, or outlined how Norway should build nuclear energy plants in order to meet the future needs for energy.
'The question is whether Norway should reduce the research at the Halden reactor or whether we should increase efforts to co-operate with an industry that in many of our scenarios are described as more important than today', says Haaland.
He points out that several countries are already in discussions on which role nuclear energy shall play in the efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in a quantity demanded by the Kyoto Agreement.
'So it becomes really a question of ethics whether it is right that Norway should contribute to this activity, Haaland says.
NOT IN NORWAY,
When the scenarios for the future challenges in the energy sector were presented, the project group received clear feedback from the energy industry, the politicians and the environment movement, that nuclear energy was not the way ahead for Norway.
'We solve one problem only to create another,' says the leader of Nature and Youth, Ane H. Kismul. In her opinion there is every reason to ask where the project group had 'put their heads' when presenting such a proposal, she also meant that Norway's research would only prolong the lifetime of the oldest and most dangerous reactors in Europe.
Neither did the Administration Director the National Energy Company Association, Steinar Bysveen have any faith in increasing Norwegian efforts in nuclear energy, but he pointed out that countries like the USA were putting large amounts of money into research, among other things to find better solutions to the complicated storage of nuclear waste.
'Norway must increase its efforts in research into renewable energy sources, and the way that CO2 emissions are handled,' Bysveen says.
That is also the main theme in many of the more optimistic scenarios presented by the group.
Aftenposten reporter: Agnar Kaarboe
Translated for Norway Post by Alex Cullum