June 20, 2024
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Serbia: Navigating nuclear energy ambitions

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A recent event saw the president of the country participating in an international conference on nuclear energy in Brussels. What stood out this time was the announcement made by the president on Twitter, expressing the country’s interest in nuclear energy and even detailing some prospective projects.

The absence of public debate on this matter in Serbia, despite its democratic status, raises concerns. In a democratic state, decisions of such magnitude should involve public consultation. However, the lack of discourse on this topic suggests otherwise.

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The president’s announcement hinted at potential plans for small and/or modular nuclear reactors, indicating a shift in the country’s energy policies. However, the feasibility of such reactors remains uncertain. While small reactors offer advantages such as practicality for remote areas and potential cost savings, they also present challenges such as increased waste production and technological dependence.

The lack of operational small reactor designs further complicates the situation. With only a few such reactors in operation globally, including in China and Russia, it’s unclear where Serbia would acquire the necessary technology.

Moreover, the financial implications of small reactor projects need careful consideration. While incremental financing may seem appealing, the overall cost per installed unit of capacity tends to be higher. Additionally, reliance on foreign expertise raises concerns about long-term energy independence.

In light of these considerations, experts in the field have likely expressed reservations about the president’s announcement. However, their voices may not have been heard due to various factors, including the declining influence of scientific communities and limitations in media coverage.

For Serbia to achieve genuine energy independence, it may be prudent to explore established technologies such as pressurized water reactors. These reactors have a proven track record of safety and reliability, offering a more viable option for the country’s energy future. However, this would require concerted efforts to develop domestic expertise and infrastructure.

In conclusion, while the president’s announcement may signal a significant shift in Serbia’s energy policies, it raises important questions that warrant further deliberation and public engagement.

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