22. oktober 2010
Interview on Nuclear Power in Denmark

In 2009 the Danish Engineer's Society asked me to assess if nuclear power could be added successfully to the present Danish power systems. Until then I never considered this solution.

A few days ago Julie Søgaard from Radio Denmark asked me the same question. My answer was used in a programme which was broadcasted 22nd October 2010.

The following is my translation of an extract of the interview:

"The rather simple analyses which I was able to make surprisingly demonstrated that it would be possible to operate a couple of nuclear units together with a number of thermal CHP units and a wind power capacity at the present level.
The reason for this unexpectedly positive outcome is that nuclear power can achieve a larger production and therefore a larger contribution of carbon free energy per installed capacity unit than wind power. It is about twice as much.
Therefore, if carbon emission is the primary target, it cannot be excluded that a nuclear unit could be utilised on either side of the Great Belt."

Julie Søgaard: "So nuclear power could simply complement the wind power in stead of adding coal which should sooner or later be phased out and possibly biomass and other things which could be stored, then nuclear power could replace it with wind mills as the other major element?"

"Only very few people dare saying it loudly, but when being asked if it is possible you cannot exclude it. If you think a little bit further ahead in time, which is presently required, and consider an increased electrification covering parts of transport and heating sectors, you could easily imagine that a further extension with nuclear power could be a useful contribution."

Julie Søgaard: "So nuclear power would simply be the stable element being present when the wind power is unavailable?"

"The nuclear power could run the stable base load. Due to the variability of wind power the new element in the future power system will be a flexible demand for electricity. The new use of electricity could be for heating, for recharging electric cars and other things which can adapt to the way the wind is blowing. With an increased demand for electricity it is easy to see a combination of wind power and nuclear power as a useful constellation."

Julie Søgaard: "So therefore some countries in Europe simply aim to continue because there is simply no alternative. It is necessary to continue with nuclear power because it has been established, so it is the most obvious solution?"

"Anyhow, there are no easy alternatives. We know that fossil fuel has a carbon problem. An important factor which maybe deserves some attention is Western Europe's dependence of imported natural gas. I feel that the situation is developing alarmingly close to Western Europe's dependence of imported oil prior to 1973. I think that the politicians have this in mind that even if it is tempting to aim at increased use of natural gas, this would lead to a lack of stability in security of supply, which would imply an unacceptable risk. I suppose that this has been considered in the countries concerned."

Opdateret d. 19.11.2010