A reliable and adequate supply of energy, especially in the form of electricity, is an indispensable element for the promotion of economic and social development of any county.
Based on this fact, providing a safe and reliable supply of energy in an economic acceptable form is an essential political, economic and social requirement.
A country cannot grow, from an economic and social point of view, if the energy system, particularly the electricity generating system, is not capable to provide the energy that the country need.
When deciding on how to expand the electricity generating system of any given country, the government and the national energy industry would have to carry out comprehensive assessments of all the energy options available in the country, with the purpose to identify those that are in conditions to be used economically.
“The reasons for choosing a specific option will differ from country to country, depending on local and regional energy resources, technological capabilities, availability of finance and qualified personnel, environmental considerations and the country’s overall energy policy”.
It is important to note that if a country is considering the introduction of a nuclear power program, then it should have an energy development plan covering the whole energy system and, in particular, the electricity supply system.
This plan should be prepared on the basis of an overall energy optimisation that includes not only a secure supply mix of different energy sources but also environmental considerations, decommissioning costs, the management of nuclear waste and the possibilities of energy conservation and efficiency improvements.
When a country is studying the introduction of a nuclear power program, the following basic criteria are fundamental to be considered:
1) “Nuclear power should be considered only when it is technically feasible and when it would be part of an economically viable long-term energy and electricity supply expansion strategy, considering all alternatives and relevant factors.
2) A nuclear power program should be launched only when it — and in particular, the first project —has a definite likelihood of being successful, i.e. it can be executed within the planned schedule and predicted financial limits and can be operated safely and reliably once in service.
3) A nuclear power project should be finally committed only on the basis of comprehensive planning, and after steps have been taken to meet all necessary supporting infrastructure requirements, including assurance of financing”.
Other issues that must be considered by the government and the national energy industry in the framework of an introduction of a nuclear power program in any given country are the following:
a) The economic competitiveness of the use of nuclear energy for electricity production in comparison with other available energy sources.
b) The safety aspects related with the licensing of a nuclear power plant and the development of a safety culture within the country.
c) The size of the electricity grids.
d) Proliferation considerations.
e) Environmental impact.
f)The cost involved for the construction of a nuclear power plant
g) The need for trained personnel and how this training is to be provided.
h) The technological capability to assimilate an advanced and demanding technology.
i)The safe management of the nuclear waste, particularly high nuclear waste.
j)The need to gain public and political acceptance.
k) The international and regional cooperation in the field of nuclear technology.
l)The decommissioning strategy to be used.
m) The nuclear fuel cycle to be selected based on the type of the nuclear power reactor choose.