Should we be afraid of nuclear power plants?

After the disaster in Fukushima I NPP, Germany suspended for three months realization of plans concerning extend the life of its 17 nuclear power plants. Swiss authorities also suspended the project of modernization of existing reactors and construction of new ones. May the events in Japan also affect the verification of plans to build nuclear power plants in Poland? We talk about having to launch these projects and their safety with Professor Doctor Engineer Andrzej Chmielewski – CEO of the Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology, Chairmen of the Nuclear Council at the President of the National Atomic Energy Council and member of social team of consultants at the Government’s Plenipotentiary for the Polish nuclear energy.

Why we should build nuclear power plants in Poland?
We have no other choice. Power requires planning for decades ahead. Fossil fuels reserves are enough for 50 – 60 years. If we continue to delay the construction of nuclear power plant, for decades may be too late. Coal is sufficient for a long time but if standards of CO2 emissions will be enforced by 2020 we will have to pay about 2 billion fine for exceeding the limits. According to a study by European Union we have the highest concentration of dust PM 2,5 in Europe. The life of average person in Poland is shortened by a month and a half due to air pollution by organic and inorganic particles. Annually about 3 thousand people die because of exposure to air pollution.

What is with other energy sources?
We derive 10 percent of energy from renewable sources but we never exceed the threshold of 20 percent. We are not able to manage properly renewable energy. The sun sends a lot of energy but it is scattered energy. Cities such as Warsaw and San Paolo can not use distributed energy sources. These cities must have a base sources of power at least 1000 MW. It is important to note the weak sunlight energy deposition in Poland.

After the events in Japan the German government appealed to abandon the project of building of nuclear power plant by Poland.
Our response can be simple. Germany will stop the construction of the pipeline through the Baltic, we will resign from nuclear power plant construction. Of course, the Germans will not agree to that. About the events in Japan – the first reactor at Fukushima nuclear power plant is already 40 years old and was to be shut down on March27th this year. I’m filled with admiration for the structure of the 70s which resisted shock wave tsunami. We do not have to be afraid. Today’s new generation nuclear power plants can withstand the most dangerous failures including coolant leakage and core melting. They have underground reservoir for molten fuel hold-up, gravity flooding by water systems and convection cooling systems. In addition, the safety shield stops all radioactive isotopes.

Is nuclear power the best solution or the lesser of two evils?
Each technological development brings with it problems. In Poland, about 3 thousand people die because of burning coal each year. The Japanese will make analysis of safety standards and improve the next projects. They have no natural resources and bring from abroad liquefied gas, but they are predictable, therefore they use nuclear energy. We must ask ourselves: do we want to stop civilization? Nuclear power is one of the elements of civilization and human development, which is already decided. Our mistake was that we stopped building nuclear power plant in Żarnowiec in 80s. We lost two billion zlotys of this investment. We need determination now. Żarnowiec will be a very good choice for the location of nuclear power plant in Poland, mainly because of the nearness of water.

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