The contribution of nuclear power to the SDGs is underestimated, according to Bilbao y León: Energy & Environment
April 30, 2021
Nuclear energy is “a key pillar” of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), World Nuclear Association CEO Sama Bilbao y León said today at the launch of Rosatom. Atoms for humanity initiative. However, she said the societal benefits of nuclear science and technology beyond power generation need to be more widely appreciated.
Sama Bilbao y León speaking at the launch of Atoms for Humanity today
Bilbao y León was speaking at the initiative’s launch event, titled Why mankind needs nuclear power. The discussion focused on the social, environmental and global partnership aspects of the UN SDGs. It was moderated by Kirsty Gogan, Managing Partner of Lucid Catalyst and Co-Founder of Terra Praxis.
“As the world gets organized and the number of countries entering the middle income bracket increases, so will the aspirations of individuals,” said Bilbao y León. Education, stable jobs, better nutrition, better health care, access to cultural and leisure activities all contribute to sustainable development, she noted. However, energy – in particular nuclear energy – will be “extremely important”.
Gogan said that one of the main SGDs is about gender equality. “But also, it’s a matter of public health and well-being, and again, it’s absolutely essential for the Sustainable Development Goals. I think nuclear power can really make a significant contribution to these. two objectives. “
Beyond energy supply
“Nuclear energy in itself Obviously contributes to having that reliable, resilient, 24/7 energy supply that we know is absolutely essential to power modern health infrastructure, “said Bilbao y León.” We are in the midst of this terrible COVID-19 pandemic and we are seeing how essential it is to have this access to electricity 24/7 to face this crisis.
“The fact that nuclear power is a very low emission technology will ensure that we have clean air, clean water and that we have a lot of open space to enjoy and have healthy communities. However, she said that many people do not appreciate the “incredibly important role” that nuclear science and technology plays beyond the supply of electricity.
Gogan agreed, saying, “We don’t know or understand that this is much more than just zero emissions, clean, reliable and affordable electricity.”
Bilbao y León noted that nuclear science and technology are used in many areas other than energy: for example, health and medicine, agriculture, art, environmental protection and archeology. In developed countries, the use of nuclear medical procedures – from dental x-rays to the diagnosis and treatment of cancer – is common. Every day, more than 15 million people around the world undergo nuclear medicine procedures that improve their quality of life or actually save lives, she said.
Job opportunities for everyone
“The reality is that there is a huge need for skilled technicians, engineers, physicists, radiation experts and nuclear medicine specialists who must be there to support the implementation of the technology and the technology. nuclear science for the benefit of society “, Bilbao y León mentioned. “We are going to have a very large number of very rewarding, well-paying, long-term jobs that will work in the context of nuclear science and technology.”
Nuclear power projects normally provide a “huge catalyst” for the economic and socio-economic development of the surrounding region, she said. However, a “social spinoff” means that such projects attract additional technologies and innovations that require additional needs for education and supporting industries. “There are a myriad of well-paying, very interesting, challenging and rewarding careers that will follow nuclear projects.
Bilbao y León underlined the importance of integrating women into these jobs and careers. “Unfortunately, in places where there is no easy access to affordable and reliable 24/7 electricity, women often find themselves in menial jobs and they do not have the ability to access the time, education and opportunities that they might otherwise have had. to really contribute to society as a whole. I really believe that giving them access to this additional training in science, technology, mathematics and engineering will allow these women – with access to electricity 24/7 – to explore new opportunities for development and to contribute to society. . “
When Gogan asked what was the motivation of young people to choose a career in the nuclear sector, Bilbao y León said: “You have engineers who do exciting work and they see that, thanks to this, nuclear power plants operate in such a way. reliable and safe. They take pride in the contribution they make to society. And so do the people who work in medicine. These physicians and radiation technicians help diagnose disease and improve people. It’s so satisfying to come home every day and say, “Today I made people’s lives a little better.”
A recording of Why mankind needs nuclear power is here.
Research and writing by World Nuclear News