"Industrial heat production, district heating by cogeneration of electricity and heat, hydrogen and synthetic fuels for transport could and should be the new territory conquered by nuclear energy, especially with a view to help decarbonise those sectors."
President of Eletronuclear
President of Eletronuclear
Nuclear technology is experiencing a moment of growth, with new techniques and solutions being developed.
Used in areas such as medicine, food irradiation, and power generation, among other sectors, nuclear technology is seen as having great potential for the future of humanity. In power generation, for example, the path to a green economy is through the use of nuclear thermal plants, which have a near-zero carbon footprint and produce green hydrogen throughout the process.
Submarine nuclear-electric generation opens new fronts for the country that masters it. Among them is the application aimed at oil and gas exploration, as possibly in the Brazilian Pre-Salt, to increase production.
There is also the project to develop offshore nuclear power plants, a recent and growing theme among researchers. Another highlight is nuclear propulsion, already used by submarines in countries like China and the United States and under development by the Brazilian Navy.
Nuclear generation is currently responsible for 10% of electricity generation worldwide, but the green economy of the 21st century will make this number skyrocket in the coming decades.
In Brazil, the Angra 1 and 2 plants represent 3% of the national energy matrix. Free of carbon emissions, besides producing green carbon during its production, nuclear power generation has been gaining strength in the debates about the future, and in Brazil the "National Energy Plan 2050" points to the expansion of the source. It is planned to be built an additional 10 GW by the established date, which would represent the construction of eight plants in the period.
Nuclear projects require large amounts of financing to get off the ground. If in Brazil there is a state monopoly on the construction and operation of nuclear generation plants, in other parts of the world the model allows for MORE ACTIVE participation of private initiative in the sector. The BOO or 'Build, Own, Operate' system, is growing more and more. Companies that master nuclear generation technology have been working on top of the BOO system to expand relationships, develop new markets, and provide clean and safe electricity to less developed countries.
The expected growth of the nuclear source in the global energy matrix also makes the uranium world market, directly impacted, stand out. Major players have developed new projects around the world and, in Brazil, INB and Galvani companies have already produced a logistical plan worth more than US$ 400 million for the industrial complex to be built beside the uranium mine of Itataia, in Santa Quitéria (CE). Another point that draws attention is the sector's growth in the financial market, as for investors who want an alternative to the traditional market.
The crisis that came with the covid-19 pandemic created several challenges for the most different industries around the world. In the nuclear sector, it became clear the importance of the concept of regionality to overcome situations like this, integrating companies that are physically close, but not always economically. Having partners and customers in close proximity greatly eases the logistics for providing services, and Latin America is an excellent market to be explored by Brazilian and foreign companies.
Among the challenges coming with the covid-19 pandemic are the operation and maintenance of nuclear power plants. Work done face-to-face, with the participation of various national and international stakeholders had to adapt to the pandemic setting.
All over the world nuclear power plants have received endorsement to continue producing clean, constant, and safe energy. The extension of the lifespan of plants is a reality, and in Brazil the project is underway at the Angra 1 plant. Eletronuclear and Westinghouse are developing the US$ 23.5 million project, which will allow an additional 20 years of operation. The plant has a license issued by CNEN valid until 2024.
Irradiation in Food, Health, and Manufacturing
Irradiation is part of our daily life and we often do not realize it. In a supermarket purchase, the consumer often buys food, for example, that has been irradiated for better preservation and increased durability and also for pest and disease control, sanitary and phytosanitary safety. In addition, there are benefits for public health and the opening of foreign markets, as in the production of coffee in Brazil, a market that has been adopting this technology.
Another outstanding application of irradiation is in animals that can be irradiated, such as for fighting diseases. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, for instance, has been studied by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), aiming to fight the vector of Dengue Fever, Zika, and Chikungunya. There is also an application of the technology that has gained even more importance during the covid-19 pandemic, which is the irradiation of pathogens so that they are inactivated and used in vaccines and serums, making it so that when injected into the human body, they do not cause disease, but induce an immune response. Wastewater treatment with the irradiation technique is also gaining more and more importance. Its use is able to destroy chemical contaminants, such as pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, pesticides, and dyes resulting from agricultural, industrial, and other activities. These different applications will be on the agenda during NT2E 2021.
The nuclear medicine sector in Brazil has an outstanding growth potential for the next years. International companies have been approaching and other national companies have been emerging, but challenges due to the national legislation and infrastructure can be a stumbling block. A recent achievement for the sector was the resolution that brings updated regulations for the registration of radiopharmaceuticals in Brazil. In practice, Anvisa's new RDC makes it easier for new radiopharmaceuticals to reach the national market, which guarantees faster and safer access to Brazilians.
A new design, innovative in concept and application, with lower cost and construction time. The Small Modular Reactors, SMRs or Small Modular Reactors in English, are a bet of the nuclear industry for the future. The simpler designs are seen as a clean energy option to address climate change and regional energy demands, while supporting economic growth and innovation. There is a race among international players for the mastery of the technology, with companies such as Westinghouse, Holtec, EDF, and Rosatom, among others, standing out.
Minister of Mines and Energy - Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME)
Director General - International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
President - Brazilian Association for the Development of Nuclear Activities (ABDAN)
Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy - International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
President - Eletronuclear
The Brazilian Association for the Development of Nuclear Activities (ABDAN) is a non-profit organization, founded in Rio de Janeiro on October 27, 1987. The association is composed of most of the major national and international nuclear technology companies.
Its mission is to promote the development and use of nuclear technology in Brazil, protecting the common interests of the companies that make up the nuclear-based productive chains and promoting actions to strengthen the business environment and systemic, sectorial, and regulatory competitiveness conditions in the domestic market and internationally.
Its strategic objective is to position itself as a dynamic and proactive entity in defending the interests of companies that use nuclear technology, seeking the enhancement, strengthening and recognition of this technology and the generation of a better business environment and the continuous improvement of the competitive conditions in the domestic and international markets.