Nuclear power has potential to save this planet – Shornikov


IT’S no secret that global warming is here and it’s time we did something about it, says Rosatom Central and Southern Africa chief executive officer Dmitry Shornikov.

Speaking at a screening of “Wild Edens: Russia” on the sidelines of African Utility Week in Cape Town on Monday, Shornikov outlined the crippling effects of global warming on the earth’s fragile eco system.

“According to recent data, world sea levels have risen by over 20 centimetres since 1870 and the planet’s average surface temperature has seen an increase of over one degree Celsius since the late 19th century,” he said, according to a statement issued by Langmead Media.

“At first glance these figures may seem insignificant but they are triggering massive environmental consequences, including droughts, extreme weather patterns as well as the melting of the Arctic ice sheets, among many others.”

Shornikov added that the earth’s fragile flora and fauna are currently under severe threat, and that the planet is suffocating under the crippling pressure of carbon emissions.

“If the world ideally sits by and does not act now, we may soon lose even more of our precious environment and wild habitats, and sadly the damage will be irreparable,” he said.

Shornikov noted that humankind already had the tools at its disposal to hinder the devastating effects of climate change and preserve the planet for generations to come.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, nuclear power plants produce virtually no greenhouse gas emissions or air pollutants during their operation and only very low emission levels during their entire life cycle. As a result, the use of nuclear power avoids the emission of nearly two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide every year – the equivalent of taking over 400 million cars off the road per year. For reference, all of the planet’s forests combined consume around 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2 annually.

“It’s no understatement to say that, together with renewables, nuclear power forms a “green square” of energy production that has the potential to save this planet. However, as many of us in this room may understand, unfortunately, the nuclear industry is still misunderstood by the general public and is shrouded by myths and plagued by skeptical misperceptions of its value for the future of our world,” Shornikov explained.

He said it was for these very reasons that Rosatom initiated the creation of the Wild Edens project. The documentary, which highlights the detrimental effects of climate change, is broadcast by National Geographic.

“Rosatom seeks to challenge mainstream perceptions of nuclear and offer it for what it truly is; a clean, safe and affordable source of energy, which should stand proudly alongside wind, solar and hydro,” said Shornikov.

The Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation is currently partnering with the Zambian government to build a Centre of Nuclear Science and Technology (CNST) in Chongwe.

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