LARS GUNNAR LARSON
The Global Energy Prize laureate 2014
“THE MORE NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS WE PUT INTO OPERATION, THE FEWER DISASTERS THERE WILL BE”
A member of the Swedish Academy of Science, nuclear physicist, and laureate of the Global Energy Prize is sure that the future belongs to nuclear power stations and renewable sources of energy.
If anyone asked a scientist to name the chief specialist in Scandinavia for safety in Russian nuclear power stations and mitigating radiation pollution in the Arctic, he would surely say Lars Gunnar Larson. He still works in his own consulting company, SiP Nuclear Consulting Company, along with the international branch of Swedish Svensk Karnbranslehantering AB International, dealing with the storage of used nuclear fuel. On top of that, Larsson is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, as an advisor for radiation safety in the Swedish Vattenfall concerns. For many years, was he responsible for issues related to safety in nuclear power stations in the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, and he took part in the establishment of the EBRD fund for the construction of a safe confinement for Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant’s 4th generating reactor. Along with that, Lars Larsson worked to clean radioactive waste in the Murmansk region, and he assisted with safety issues of Russian nuclear stations and the disposal of used Soviet nuclear submarines. Larsson first visited Russia in 1997 to evaluate the situation at our nuclear power stations. The Swedish scientist was assigned the task to control the distribution of funds, which the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development assigned for the nuclear power stations safety improvement program. Lars Larsson prefers not to speak of his very first meeting with a Russian specialist. “One can say it was politically sensitive,” he notes in a diplomatic manner. Though, as witnessed by the participants of the negotiations, it was possible to come to an agreement quickly, despite the fact that the colleagues used different languages and the provided interpreter did not know technical terms. Another very important task, as described by Lars Larsson, was to challenge stereotypes. “In the middle of the 90s many of my colleagues were trapped by Chernobyl syndrome,” recalls the scientist. “They frankly thought that all nuclear power stations in Russia would be like Chernobyl NPP, and that the same disaster would happen to them. I considered that approach to be too simple. Having familiarized myself with Russian reactors, I realized that the maintenance process is challenging and requires all personnel to be highly skilled.”