Nuclear energy is one of the cheapest and most reliable energy sources over the long term, according to Agneta Rising, director general of the World Nuclear Association.
'Starting a nuclear project is a large investment, but if you look over the long period, it is one of the cheapest energy sources,' Rising said in a recent interview at the International Forum Atomexpo 2018 in Sochi, Russia.
The construction costs of nuclear energy are high compared to other sources. According to International Energy Agency, building a nuclear power plant costs $6,000 per kilowatt varying with factors like location and technology selection.
Although start-up costs are high, countries that have power plants reap benefits back from their investment over this lifetime, Rising said, adding that nuclear power plants are capable of delivering electricity over a long lifetime of between 50 to 80 years.
Nuclear energy is a reliable energy source because it can supply power 24 hours a day, seven days of week, Rising said.
'If you look at comparing costs, global average nuclear is one of the cheapest. It is cost competitive, provides employment in the locality, and offers skilled jobs over a lifetime,' she added.
Fuel and operating costs of nuclear plants are low compared to most fossil fuel generators making them profitable long-term investments once the financing costs are repaid.
At present, 450 nuclear power reactors operate in 30 countries. Around 30 more countries are considering building their first nuclear power plants, or have started doing so, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
An article from online publication Our World in Data, which is part of an Oxford Martin Program on Global Development from the University of Oxford, shows the comparison between nuclear and other energy sources in the sphere of safety. 'Brown coal and coal rate the worst when it comes to energy-related fatalities. Coal-fired power plants are a key source of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, key precursors to ozone and particulate matter (PM) pollution, which can have an impact on human health, even at low concentrations.'
'At the other end of the scale as the safest source of energy we have nuclear energy, resulting in 442 times fewer deaths relative to brown coal per unit of energy,' Our World in Data shows.
After the Fukushima accident in March 2011, Japan improved its safety standards and applied new rules and regulations for all nuclear power plants in the country to ensure safety.
- Akkuyu NPP develop Turkey's industry
Rising hailed Turkey's Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) project as an important investment for the country.
The plant, which will cost around $20 billion, will have a working life of 8,000 hours per year.
Russian State Nuclear Energy Agency, Rosatom, will build the plant comprising four units, each of which has a capacity of 1,200 megawatts.
'It is important for Turkey, and its young people to have good supply of electricity for the future,' Rising said, noting that with Turkey's business growth on an incline, it will need a good diverse supply of electricity.
She added that the plant would help young Turkish workers gain valuable experience and allow improvements through skilled work.
The plant will produce 35 billion kilowatts of electricity at full capacity - enough to meet about 10 percent of Turkey's electricity needs.
The Akkuyu NPP has an operational date set for the first reactor by 2023, while the plant is expected to be up and running at full capacity by 2025.
'You need a large supply chain to build a nuclear power plant project, which is, in fact, expensive at the beginning,' Rising said.
'You need so many people to do so many things. It is an economical benefit to the country, and drives growth,' she concluded.
By Huseyin Erdogan