While nuclear energy has remained controversial over the decades, it cannot be denied that it has been of great use to humanity as an energy source. However, while it will still play a role in heavy industry and other sectors, analysts at financial consultancy Goldman Sachs opine that it cannot be considered a transformational technology.
A recent report released by Goldman Sachs Research gauged if much of Europe would be able to boost their energy independence in light of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine but without compromising the goals they have set about decarbonization and the use of renewable or sustainable energy.
Rethinking the Available Options
Speaking for Goldman Sachs, its equity business leader for Europe and the Middle East Michele Della Vigna remarked that the team behind the report feels that nuclear energy is not a key transformational technology in the same way that wind, solar, and hydrogen-generated power are.
Della Vigna did add that nuclear energy will, nevertheless retain a share in Europe’s overall energy mix. In which case, it may still be seen as an area for investment and development.
Likewise, despite the pressing need for nations to wean themselves from it, fossil fuels like natural gas would remain in play for European energy over the next couple of decades.
A Part to Play, A Price to Pay
Based on data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), nuclear power counts for around 10% of the global electrical supply going as high as 20% of all power generated in more advanced nations.
However, while the safety of nuclear energy has been called into question numerous times, one key issue keeping it from becoming a transformational option is the cost of nuclear operations.
Nuclear power plants tend to have long lead times and require extensive financing to keep them running. In fact, nuclear power has been completely written out of the equation in many countries that would rather opt for natural gas or more current renewable options as these are easier to install and operate and will cost much less in the long run.
But it is possible that new developments in the field of nuclear energy, such as modular plants and smaller, easier-to-maintain reactors, could change the game. After all, nuclear plants have contributed a great deal to electricity security in many parts of the world, particularly where the stability of power grids is concerned.