Dr. Lokman Kantar and Dr. Kenan Sentürk, faculty members at Istanbul Gelisim University, evaluated the possible dangers that await European countries in the event of a gas cut by Russia.
Upon the cessation of operations at the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant, which is under Russian control, production at Europe's largest nuclear power plant was completely terminated. The Russia-Ukraine War, which started in the first months of 2022, caused increases in the prices of gas and oil imported from Russia, especially wheat products. Asst. Prof. Dr. Lokman Kantar from Istanbul Gelisim University stated that the dependence of European Union countries on Russia's energy resources is about 30%. Asst. Prof. Dr. Kenan Sentürk, on the other hand, emphasized that the emerging Ukraine-Russia crisis may cause a review of the situation in energy policies in countries such as Germany, which needs Russian gas, and that the interest in nuclear energy can be expected to increase in these countries.
ENERGY POLICIES MUST BE REDETERMINED!
Nuclear reactors, which have been the subject of controversy since the first years of their use, are used not only in energy production, but also in the production of isotopes used in medicine and industry. Asst. Prof. Dr. Kenan Sentürk emphasized that nuclear energy does not produce carbon and indicated the following:
“The criticisms made about nuclear energy are basically based on the fact that radioactive waste management is very difficult and limited, the initial investment of nuclear power plants is expensive, and the consequences of mistakes or accidents that may arise can cause heavy costs. On the other hand, the fact that nuclear energy is a type of energy that does not produce carbon, that it provides reliable and continuous energy, and that nuclear power plants can be used to produce isotopes that may be needed in medicine and industry, should also be taken into consideration. The countries that benefit most from nuclear energy are the USA, China, France, Russia and South Korea. In particular, while France provides more than 70% of its electrical energy needs by using nuclear reactors, this rate remains at the level of 10% in Germany. It can be predicted that the Ukraine-Russia crisis may change the situation in countries such as Germany in the form of increased interest in nuclear energy”.
The rise in oil prices results in changes in energy policies and inclination towards new energy types, particularly in countries with high oil imports. Accordingly, the interest in nuclear energy may increase with recent developments. Asst. Prof. Dr. Sentürk underlined that no energy technology is completely safe, hence energy policies may need to be redefined.
IN CASE OF A GAS CUT OFF SCENARIO, WE MAY ENCOUNTER THESE 4 SCENARIOS
Russia makes a significant part of its natural gas and oil exports to European Union countries. The sanctions imposed on Russia by European countries from time to time caused Russia to direct its gas and oil exports to the Asian market instead of the European market. Russia aims to increase the share of natural gas exports to East Asia to 30% by 2035 by laying a pipeline to China through Mongolia. Asst. Prof. Dr. Lokman Kantar stated that European countries directed their gas demand to Norway, CNG (Compressed natural gas) and underground storage resources in order to reduce their dependence on Russia, however, sufficient infrastructure for LNG storage has not been established yet.
“European countries have created various scenarios in case gas cut off by Russia. These scenarios are;
1- Russia cuts gas supply to all of Europe,
2- Gas interruption only to Northeastern European countries,
3- Gas cuts to Eastern European countries,
4- Gas cuts to Southwest and Northwest European countries
In the aforementioned scenarios, it is a matter of curiosity from which countries the gas will be supplied and what the effects of this situation will be on the economies of the countries.
THESE COUNTRIES WILL BE MORE AFFECTED BY INCREASING ENERGY PRICES
The loss of gas-related sectors in terms of economic added value will incur a loss of 41.42% in case of gas cuts to all European countries. Asst. Prof. Dr. Lokman Kantar: “If Russia makes a gas cut to all of Europe, the European countries that will not be affected by this gas cut off will be the Northwest European countries (Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom) that have their own gas reserves.
In a possible scenario, the countries that will be most affected by energy prices in the European Union countries will be Bulgaria (1.40%), Estonia, Hungary, Czechia, Slovakia, Finland, Poland and Lithuania, respectively.
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