13 May (NucNet): More than 40 nuclear associations representing over 80,000 scientists have today called on government ministers to double public investment in nuclear-related R&D and innovation within the next five years.
The associations said there should be a specific focus on innovative applications of advanced nuclear systems which can make possible the clean energy mix of the future.
The Brussels-based European Nuclear Society has backed the call for ministers to help unlock nuclear energy’s potential in national clean energy portfolios and its contribution towards global and national decarbonisation goals.
The society said in a statement today that the level of public sector support for nuclear R&D, both fission and fusion, has remained constant at around $4bn annually (at 2014 values) since 2000. In many countries the private sector has been less eager and struggling to invest in nuclear research because of negative political, market, and financial environments.
However, the society said, the nuclear industry is undertaking “a new wave of innovation” related to digitalisation, the development of new reactor designs, and the introduction of alternative nuclear applications like desalination, district heating, and process heat for industry.
“These projects are expected to open new market opportunities for the use of nuclear power together with other clean energy sources, but they require significant R&D investment and new innovative approaches,” the statement said.
Eric Proust, chairman of the European Nuclear Society’s high scientific council, said a major increase of EU funding for future Euratom research programmes is needed because the current budget of €50m a year for nuclear fission R&D is plainly inadequate.
“By comparison, 12 times more funding is allocated to [the EU’s] Horizon 2020’s ‘Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy’ programme, which excludes nuclear energy”, he said.
The declaration is online: http://bit.ly/2WKNmqM