6 April 2010

Nuclear Energy Gift - Prof. Dr. Sümer Şahin

Nuclear energy is the main energy source of universe because all stars including sun produce their energy from fusion nuclear reactions. Fusion is the producing engine of the energy resources. All energy sources are transformation of the energy which is derived from fusion in the sun. World’s energy future will be shaped by nuclear energy for certain because density of nuclear energy is significantly higher than any other energy types. The main cause at heading towards nuclear energy in the 21st century is that nuclear technology is the locomotive engine of developing high level technology and electricity is a by product energy. The ratio between the need of science and technology and the need of technology is equal. If you need high level science and technology, you will need nuclear energy absolutely. Alternative energy sources cannot replace the role of nuclear energy.

Hydraulic energy and wind power have a very low density of energy when they are compared to conventional thermal energy, which is produced by chemical burning (coal, natural gas, oil) and its density is higher than both hydraulic energy and wind power by ~ 10000 times. Thermal energy has been the main energy type used in the 19th and 20th centuries. Density of nuclear energy is 10 million – 100 million times higher than conventional thermal energy. Chemical energy production per reaction is in the range of few electron volts, but energy production from fission per reaction is 200 million electron volts and energy production from fusion is 17 million electron volts. 1/5000 of natural waters are heavy water. If extract deuterium from 1 lt of natural water and burn it in fusion reactor, produced energy will be equivalent to the energy which will be produced from burning of 300 lt of benzine.

Load factor of nuclear energy is also another important issue which shows the superiority of nuclear energy. Load factor of nuclear reactors is around 90 % - 98 %.

Developed countries use nuclear energy widespread but underdeveloped countries still producing energy from chemical thermal energy or hydro power. The block which has most widespread use of nuclear energy is EU. Among the countries US is the leading country in nuclear energy use. EU and US are giving a high level of importance to nuclear energy. For instance, Belgium which can be counted as a small country by its territory size has 7 nuclear centrals. Europe does not have the raw material resources needed for producing nuclear energy; Europe takes needed raw material from Africa. The raw nuclear material is mainly uranium. In spite of its resources Africa does not have any nuclear power plants except two nuclear Load factor in South Africa.

There are great discrepencies in distribution of energy worldwide. There are 1.5 billion people who have not interacted with electrical energy and there are 750 million people who have not even seen the electrical light. This is a big inequality on sharing the energy among humanity.

Nuclear energy production does not have that much danger which environmental associations mentioned. Nuclear power plants are constructions of high level technology and there are no safety problems about any issue. Arguments which defend that nuclear power plants are deadly dangerous are a piece of slanders. The worst disaster caused by nuclear energy was the Chernobyl Disaster which was happened in 1986. Nearly 30-40 people died by immediate effects, and some more thereafter. This death count is very near to a dead count which will be caused from a plane crush. Radioactive nuclear waste material produced by world’s nuclear reactors is 500 cubic meters/year; amount of industrial hazardous materials which consist of extremely highly toxic, carcinogenic materials are 10 million cubic meters measured in a year. Other industrial waste is measured as 1 billion cubic meter per year. Danger caused by highly toxic industrial waste is not less than the danger may be caused from radioactive nuclear waste. Nuclear radiation exists since the universe’s existence; it comes from sun, space, human, from stones, etc. There are radioactive materials everywhere so everybody is exposed to radiation at any place or situation. Intensity of radiation is the determining factor for the danger rate of nuclear energy.

Discussions on the danger of nuclear energy production are not scientific based discussions. Ideological aspects are coming forward while discussing this issue. There is a tendency towards anti-nuclear idea within some marginal groups in Turkey. These people, who are against nuclear energy, have not much information on nuclear energy so they can be called as half enlightened people. Anti-nuclear movements have no rational base actually. Even Patrick Moore (http://www.greenspirit.com/index.cfm) who is the founder of “Greenpeace” (an environmentalist association), admitted that nuclear energy is a need for future demand in his article published in The Washington Post in 2006. Moore also adds that environmentalist movements are opposing to all high technology and heavy machines and this leads world to a blind alley. In his Nuclear Statement to the US Congressional Committee http://www.greenspirit.com/logbook.cfm?msid=70, he states wordly “I want to conclude by emphasizing that nuclear energy – combined with the use of other alternative energy sources like wind, geothermal and hydro – remains the only practical, safe and environmentally-friendly means of resolving America’s energy crisis. If America is to meet its ever increasing demands for energy, then the American nuclear industry must be revitalized and allowed to grow. The time for common sense and scientifically-sound leadership on the nuclear energy issue is now.”

The main aim of international treaties which were on nuclear energy is to develop nuclear energy for commercial uses. Treaties were functioned well in 60s and they prevented a potential nuclear weapon production spread over the world. Also they contain articles on helping no-nuclear countries to develop their nuclear energy. But developed countries generally offer alternative energy sources to underdeveloped countries. This behavior is honest. Countries which do not have nuclear energy such Turkey signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), although Turkey did not need to sign this kind of a treaty because Turkey has no nuclear energy production so it is a mistaken and meaningless policy for Turkey, before the start of the construction of a nuclear reactor. International treaties about nuclear energy are adequate for today but there is a problem in their functioning. Countries which have nuclear weapons have an intention to not signing these treaties such Israel. These treaties are expected to control the Proliferation of nuclear weapons but they are not effective on the countries which have nuclear weapons.

As stated before, most developed countries on producing and using nuclear energy are within the EU. US is the another country which has a high level of nuclear energy technology. Nuclear energy is an important gift given by God to people, every people on the world should benefit from nuclear energy. There are countries which have broken this nuclear energy monopoly. Those countries such as Japan and South Korea achieved their success by applying methodical state policies. The safest and most developed nuclear reactors are designed and constructed by Japan. Canada and South Korea can be counted also as other most successful countries about designing and constructing very safe nuclear reactors.

Turkey has been signing protocols to construct a nuclear power plant for 40 years. The first agreement on constructing a nuclear power plant in Akkuyu - Turkey was signed in 1960s with Sweden. All issues negotiated and finalized between Turkey and Sweden. There was a road problem to Akkuyu that roads were not sufficient to carry heavy loads and Turkey was expected to solve this problem because this issue was not included in the nuclear reactor construction package proposal given by Sweden. Turkey simply did nothing to solve this problem. Agreement between Turkey and Sweden is then cancelled by Sweden. Protocols on construction of nuclear centrals in Turkey were signed with various countries like Canada, France, Germany, US but none of them finalized in the near past. There are no expectations of a nuclear energy development in Middle East until the year 2050. Iran and United Arab Emirates are exceptional. UAE came to an agreement on building a nuclear power plant with South Korea. Iran is studying on nuclear energy by its own. .

Shah Regime was giving a particular importance on nuclear energy production in Iran. Shah regime was overthrown by Khomeini while France – Germany Partnership was constructing two nuclear reactors in Iran. 60% of the construction was finished at the time when Khomeini became the leader of Iran. Khomeini government stopped nuclear power plant construction because of their anti-western ideas. In 90s, Iran signed a treaty with Russia for finishing up the constructions of these reactors. In a speech of Iran Energy Minister which was made in 2009 stated that “Russia did not finish the nuclear centrals for 20 years and Russia is not likely to finish them in the next 200 years.” Iran decided to develop nuclear fuel needs by its own after Russia’s unwillingness to complete the Iranian nuclear reactors. Iran started the uranium enrichment program at last. Iran’s studies on nuclear energy aim at commercial use of nuclear energy, so far. This uranium enrichment only provides the needed fuel for the nuclear reactors which were not finished yet.

There are chances for countries which do not have nuclear energy production yet actually if they choose and come to an agreement with a qualified country or partnership for building nuclear power plants on their territory. Qualifications of the countries which are capable of building nuclear centrals are important at this point. For instance, Russia has an unsuccessful past on building nuclear power plants with the Iran case. Japan Hitachi Company can be called as the most successful company on building nuclear power plants. Hitachi Company is able to finish a nuclear power plant in 39 months if agreement is signed, this speed can be called as a record in nuclear power plant building. Canada finishes building up a nuclear power plant in 60 months, US lost its capability of building nuclear reactors within the last 30 years so US orders nuclear reactor components from South Korea. On the other hand France – Germany partnership builds nuclear power plants in 5 or 6 six years in their own countries but their past about building centrals abroad is unsuccessful. Building of a nuclear power plant to Brazil took 24 years and 6 months for France – Germany Partnership. This partnership has not finished building of another reactor in Finland which was started ~ 15 years ago. If Turkey or countries like Turkey have plans for building nuclear power plants, they have to have correct knowledge about nuclear power plants and they are obliged to design a well-planned program for nuclear energy future. Qualifications of companies and countries should be examined well and decisions should be taken carefully with a stable government policy. A nuclear power plant produces electricity for a century; it is a long term and productive investment.

If Turkey had started a nuclear energy program 40 or 50 years ago, today per capita of Turkey would be around 30000 – 40000 dollars. Also EU would open its gates to Turkey, if Turkey becomes a country which has high level of technology. If Turkey prepares and applies a nuclear energy program efficiently for forthcoming 5 years, Turkey’s membership of the EU will be approved before the year 2015. Nuclear energy usage is a determining factor for a country’s respect in international area. Turkey will not face with problems such as Armenian Genocide arrogations if Turkey focuses on high level technology and succeeds.

Foreign approach on Turkish technology development should be interpreted carefully. Western countries have a subtile tendency to undermine some technological developments because they will benefit from an increased dependency of Turkey. It should not be forgotten that Turkey had stopped developing airplane industry because the US offered airplanes practically free of charge in 50’s.

If a country wants to achieve a high level of technology and development, the one and only guide is science leading to industrial production.

No comments:

Post a Comment