Chornobyl Accident and the Future of Nuclear Energy: the Way Towards Safety and Sustainability

INTRODUCTION

Energy offers some of the hardest challenges in the search for sustainable development. All countries have built their economies on an industrial infrastructure heavily dependent on energy. Energy is crucial for human progress, but at the same time its use causes global, regional, and local problems. Changes in energy production may have politically unacceptable economic impacts, especially in emerging industrial societies of developing countries and economies in transition.

The largest per capita energy use is in the industrial world; the twenty-five percent of the world's population that lives here is responsible for two-thirds of global energy consumption. But energy use in the developing countries will grow quickly because of rapid population growth, demographic changes, and economic development. Less than 25 years from now, total energy consumption in developing nations might pass that of industrial countries.

Industrial fuel and energy complexes must also consider potential impacts on natural and social environments and on development demands in the developing and industrialized world. In this context special attention should be focused on nuclear energy. Nuclear power currently provides 4% of the world's energy supply and about 17% of its electricity [1, 2].

The concern about safety and sustainability of nuclear energy production and use brought nuclear alternatives in the eighties back into the discussion. The re-emergence of nuclear energy as a topic was due to several nuclear accidents in different nations, the Chornobyl catastrophe having had the most serious consequences of such accident types. The disaster of 1986 in the USSR has highlighted the weak points of the existing international and national regulatory systems and brought in international disputes and negotiations on nuclear energy issues [3].


URI HomepageURI Working Papers Page