Energy Transition


World has been experiencing a transition from non-renewable energy sources to renewable energy sources. Traditional energy source like fossil fuel has caused an immense harm to earth and has been a major contributor to climate change, whereas, renewable energy sources are much dependable and requires backups. Hence attention to crack the climate issue and to meet the needs of electrified world, nuclear energy is deemed appropriate. Nuclear energy is considered to be a source of reliable and carbon free energy that is expected to lead the country out of energy and climate crisis.  Advanced economies have been working on nuclear energy since the technology was found in 1950’s and today there are approximately 440 nuclear reactors working to lead a decarbonized power sector. Transition to nuclear energy like other energy sources is consequential. Apart from being expensive its byproducts are toxic and this remains the major hurdle where critics fear accidents and security concerns related to nuclear facilities.

Nuclear triumph was a consequence of Manhattan project that occasioned the production of world’s first nuclear weapon commonly known as the atomic bomb, since then, the world has known nuclear power as being dangerous, destructive and lethal. Nuclear weapon was used in bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki to bring WW2 to an end, since then the prevalence of status quo and efficacy in war prevention has likely been a product of nuclear power being possessed by world’s super powers. The Cuban missile crisis of 1962 provides a blatant example of nuclear deterrence sailing while complementing the concept of mutually assured destruction. Possession of nuclear weapons by few superior states and the cause of nuclear proliferation were momentarily sensed as a threat to the world. Non-proliferation became a new agenda for the superior states; with the non-proliferation attempts today there are total 9 states in possession of nuclear weapons. Besides, apart from this calamitous image of nuclear energy, world can now experience a more constructive form of it.

“Nuclear has actually been safer than any other source of [power] generation,” Gates. Recently, Bill Gates in an interview told the world that nuclear power will absolutely be acceptable again. Nuclear power according to him has earned a baneful reputation due to its historical usage, but this reputation has to be transformed, as today the world needs innovation in energy sector which would ultimately assist to curb the climate menace. “There’s a new generation [of nuclear power] that solves the economics, which has been the big, big problem”, “At the same time, it revolutionizes the safety.” He made it clear that new nuclear technology under his Terra Power project would make energy safer and affordable.

However, with such nuclear advances nuclear power is used by various states for constructive means. It is timely reports that gulf is going nuclear; UAE has been the first Arab state to successfully operate one out of its four nuclear reactors in Barakah facility, aiming to diversify their energy sources away from fossil fuels and to process energy without adding up to global warming.  But UAE already holds one of the world’s largest solar plants, and this raises suspicions about UAE’s nuclear facility. In case of UAE building a nuclear facility, fears are not only related to the energy being used for potential nuclear weapon, but the dynamics, the unrest in the region and the presence of militants in the region  makes the facility an easy target and a vulnerability for the state and the entire gulf region.  There have been numerous attempts by states in gulf to go nuclear, Saudi Arabia for instance is building nuclear research reactor which is again a threat to the entire region due to its inconsistent behavior and its potential war with Iran. Iran is also accused of secrecy and Israel is not behind in this battle; it neither recognizes nor does it deny the fact is that it possesses nuclear weapons. Despite the fact that the region has been embroiled in rivalries since decades the Middle Eastern states are getting their hands on technologies that can trigger disasters for years to come as it is rightly said that, a nuclear power plant in a country is like a pre-deployed nuclear weapon for the enemy.

Nuclear transition would be revolutionizing for energy, agricultural and industrial sectors, but this advancement will only prove beneficial for advanced economies those who can bear the burden of nuclear build-ups and its maintenance. Third world states those who are not even capable to meet their energy needs through fossil fuels cannot even imagine affording luxury of nuclear energy, and this would only deepen the existing gap between global North and South. Moreover, nuclear power plants in hands of undemocratic rouge states will prove fatal for the world; weapon proliferation, attacks on facilities has been experienced before and if not taken under serious consideration world would have to face the consequences.


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