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Western countries ‘too optimistic’ on nuclear projects, warns engineering chief

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Financial Times or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Ian Edwards, chief executive of AtkinsRéalis, criticized Western countries for their overly optimistic and hasty approach to nuclear energy projects, leading to frequent delays and budget overruns 
• Ahead of the first global nuclear summit, he highlighted the necessity for more careful planning and execution in the nuclear sector

🔭 The context: As nuclear energy becomes increasingly recognized for its potential in the transition to clean energy, the industry faces challenges including cost overruns, safety concerns, and the management of radioactive waste 
• The success of China in deploying nuclear power contrasts sharply with the West's struggles, partly due to the benefits of modular reactors and standardized designs

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Nuclear power, with its capability to provide a stable and low-carbon energy source, is crucial for meeting global energy needs while addressing climate change 
• AtkinsRéalis’s CANDU reactors, which do not require enriched uranium, offer a strategic advantage, especially as Western countries seek to lessen their reliance on Russian energy resources

⏭️ What's next: The nuclear industry is witnessing a resurgence of interest, fueled by climate change concerns and energy security issues 
• The upcoming International Atomic Energy Agency summit in Brussels and commitments by various countries to expand nuclear power signal a concerted effort to invest in nuclear technologies, aiming to triple nuclear power by 2030

💬 One quote: "Demand is probably going to outstrip our ability to provide capacity," stated Ian Edwards, reflecting on the growing interest in nuclear power and the challenges of scaling up production to meet global demand

📈 One stat: Since 1990, China has constructed 55 nuclear plants, with 22 currently under construction and more than 70 planned, showcasing a rapid expansion of nuclear energy capacity

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