|Session I: Future Energy Needs ó Chairmanís Concluding Remarks|
Mr Doucet and Mr Birol have made two highly interesting contributions to this Symposium. First of all, they put the macroeconomic context of the activities of the nuclear industry into a clearer perspective. They stressed the growth of energy demand (+65% between 1995 and 2020!), and recognised the advantages and handicaps of the different generation systems.
Furthermore, they presented partly divergent opinions, stressing the main contradictions we have to face. Mr Doucet told us that the success of nuclear energy is "inevitable", while Mr Birol expects nuclearís overall participation in satisfying energy requirements to decline, particularly in the developed countries, as result of greater competition from gas.
The growth in world energy demand, in particular for electrical energy, highlights the paramount need for new energy producing ideas and methods, notably in the developing countries, but also in OECD countries. In the latter, the effects induced by deregulation and the opening of electricity markets will add new facets to the already complex competitive environment for generation systems. The nuclear industry must therefore be capable of responding to demand quantitatively.
Yet the success of nuclear power, for which we in the industry strive, poses a further challenge: to develop an effective strategy to outrun competing strategies. The presenters have rightly identified the main guidelines:
Let me add a fourth element: we have also to be more imaginative in the commercial field, for example, with global offers.
The Future of Nuclear Energy Depends on a Competitive Environment
My first observation is that it is the job of industrialists in the nuclear field to build the future for this form of energy. As explained by Mr Adamov earlier in this Symposium, the industry needs a vision. But since competition is most often the decisive criterion for the utilities, the future of nuclear energy depends accordingly on being competitive with other energy products. Cost cutting and creativity in financing systems are two vital aspects which the industry must develop.
The Future of Nuclear Power Also Depends on Public Acceptance
My second observation is that the place of nuclear power in the future energy market is not guaranteed, and will certainly no longer be "decreed" by governments. Given its implications for society, nuclear power generation will only grow with the consent and support of the population.
It is clear that the population must be involved in energy-related decisions on the options available, and that further government decisions must be discussed, adopted and accepted publicly. This is so for nuclear power as well as other forms of energy. Therefore nuclear power must be one subject among others, and open to public debate.
This practical and effective involvement of the population can assume the form of a debate, based on scientific and technical proposals (processes, equipment, systems), between the industry and representatives of the population. The industry must acknowledge the need for these democratic processes, as our arguments are sound. We have to be more modest and less arrogant. Beyond that, we have to require governments to ensure that the regulatory arrangements which apply to our industry are both clear and fair.
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