In the midst of last month, the United Nations nuclear promotional and watchdog body, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) hosted an International Conference on Nuclear Security (ICONS 2020). ICONS Vienna followed earlier high-level IAEA nuclear security meetings held in 2013 and 2016. You could be forgiven for having missed it, as media attention was minimal, notwithstanding the crucial importance to worldwide security of the matters discussed and decided upon. Dr David Lowry explains.
Partially inspired by Germany’s version, the Czech Coal Commission met for the first time earlier this summer. Though it’s creation was largely driven by the mass student protests that have fundamentally transformed the Czech debate on climate policy, only two of its nineteen members are from environmental organizations. With its final report due in less than a year, it’s still unclear if the commission will decide upon a coal phase out date or a surge in renewables instead of new nuclear power. To learn more, Klára Schovánková, head of the ecology program at Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Prague office, interviewed Coal Commission member, Jiří Koželouh, who also heads the energy program at Hnutí Duha, Friends of the Earth Czech Republic.
A myth is haunting the English-speaking world: Germany allegedly shows that emissions rise because renewables can’t replace nuclear – and that France is right to stick with nuclear. What do the data show? Craig Morris reports
Germany has decided to work towards a sustainable and digital energy system. The days of the old centralized, nuclear- and coal-based system are numbered. Christine Lucha and Lisa Meinecke point out the trends and challenges that shape the transition towards the New Energy World. Their conclusion is as simple as it is pressing: active political design is the key – now!
Czech nuclear reactors have so far produced at least 4000 tons of highly radioactive waste. If the number of reactors grows, so will the amount of waste produced. The government has long declared itself in favor of developing nuclear energy even as it still does not know how to solve the nuclear waste problem. Martin Sedlák takes a look.
No other energy resource in the Czech Republic has been as discussed in the media and political debate as solar has been in recent years. The technology entered the Czech energy sector in 2010 with a big initial bounce, but its development stagnated during the next decade. Those interested in Czech photovoltaic technology are now attempting to revive it, says Martin Sedlák.
South Africa’s electricity sector has emerged from a turbulent decade that has been tarnished by corruption and mismanagement. Vested political interests within the electricity industry here could still be locking the continent’s biggest carbon emitter on its current course as one of the dirtiest and most energy-intensive economies in the world, writes Leonie Joubert.
There will be no new coal plants built in the US, and existing ones are coming under pressure from renewables. Energy utilities are switching to wind power instead: Xcel Energy has promised to use 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050. L. Michael Buchsbaum goes in-depth.
Bulgaria is facing some serious challenges: smog, regions that rely completely on coal for jobs, and serious energy poverty. Genady Kondarev takes a look at why it’s so hard for the country to break free of fossil fuels.