The Infrastructure Development Working Group co-Chairs, Alex Burkart and Zbigniew Kubacki chaired a workshop on "nuclear energy beyond electricity generation" which was held at the Ministry of Energy of Poland, in Warsaw.
Nuclear technology is today widely used to produce electricity without a negative impact on the environment. No harmful emissions, small footprints of nuclear power plants, relatively small amount of waste, are some of the key features of nuclear technology. Electricity however is only 18% of the energy used worldwide. The rest is mostly heat generation and transport, today almost entirely produced by high emission sources.
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. The IDWG workshop discussed the broad topics of non-electric applications of nuclear energy, and the key role that High Temperature Reactors (HTRs) could play to provide both electricity and process heat applications. The last session focused on the role of hydrogen, one of the most promising low carbon energy vectors – which can be produced thanks to nuclear energy, and in particular from HTRs.
Participants of the workshop also visited the National Centre for Nuclear Research NCBJ, involved i.a. in development of High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactors. The portfolio of NCBJ is wide, spanning from basic research in physics, through applied research on materials, detectors and accelerators, up to commercial production of radioisotopes and particle accelerator for science, medicine and industry.
Session I: Non-electric applications of nuclear energy – economic and environmental benefits
Session II: High Temperature Reactors – beyond electricity generation
Session III: Future role of Hydrogen and development of innovative nuclear systems