Israel's Energy Ministry mulls nuclear power plant

Nuclear power plant  photo: Reuters

The move is part of the plan to reduce Israel's greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2030.

The Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources is conducting a feasibility study for construction of a nuclear power plant in Israel, and is examining the human, scientific, and engineering infrastructure required for the project, sources inform "Globes."

Last September, the cabinet approved for the first time targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and streamlining energy conservation in the economy in preparation for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris next week. The Conference goal is to reach a global binding agreement on climate change. The Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources has allocated NIS 500 million to the plans, plus grants totaling NIS 300 million over four years for investment in energy conservation.

Achievement of the approved targets is designed to reduce emissions by 25% by 2030. Within 45 days, the government ministries are slated to formulate a plan forimplementing out the decision. Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources director general Shaul Meridor demanded the insertion of a clause stating that Israel could promote the construction of the plant. Minister of Environmental Protection Avi Gabbay, however, strongly opposed the clause, which was dropped. The Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources will therefore formulate its own plan for achieving the targets.

Among other things, the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources is considering the construction of a nuclear power plant, claiming that it would emit less pollutants than a coal-fired plant, and therefore contribute to achievement of the targets. It was also asserted that such a plant would contribute to diversification of Israel's fuel, thereby bolsteringthe country's energy security. The proposal to build a nuclear plant (Project E) wasraised several years agobcause of the delay in the construction of an additional coal-fired plant in Ashkelon (Project D). For various reasons, the coal plant was not built, and will probably never be built.

According to the World Nuclear Association, there are 437 nuclear reactors currently operating in the world, 66 of which are now under construction. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that production of electricity from nuclear energy will rise from 392 gigawatts at present to 620 gigawatts by 2040, when it will account for 12% of global electricity production. In order to obtain the know-how for producing nuclear energy, countries must sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which states that the country will not use the technology to produce nuclear weapons. Israel and four other countries (India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Sudan) are unwilling to sign the treaty, and are therefore forbidden to produce nuclear electricity. Nevertheless, India has been producing electricity from nuclear energy since 2011.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 26, 2015

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015

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Nuclear power plant  photo: Reuters
Nuclear power plant photo: Reuters
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