Nuclear important for sustainable energy future, says IAEA

08 December 2015

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) deputy director general Mikhail Chudakov has called on world leaders to consider nuclear power as an important contributor to a sustainable energy future at the COP21 climate conference in Paris.

IAEA deputy director general Mikhail Chudakov speaking at the side event
(Image: IAEA/D Shropshire)

Chudakov made his comments yesterday at a United Nations side event, "Pathways to Sustainable Energy for a Climate Friendly World". He said nuclear, as a clean, reliable, affordable and modern energy source, should be considered among low carbon options.

"Nuclear energy has low life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions and has the potential, with innovative technologies, to serve humanity effectively for a very long time," Chudakov said. "When considered in the broader context of sustainable development, nuclear power enhances energy security and reduces damage to ecosystems and impacts on human health," he continued.

The side event saw senior representatives from several United Nations and other organizations discuss how to ensure access to affordable and modern energy for sustainable development. It was co-led by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the IAEA and the United Nations Environment Programme.

Speakers agreed on the urgency of making the necessary transformations in business models, technologies and consumer habits to move to a low-carbon future. "Drastic" energy efficiency improvements and fast upscaling of all low-carbon technologies, including nuclear, carbon capture and sequestration, and renewables would be necessary to limit the increase of average global temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius, they said.

In answer to a question, Chudakov said more effective use needed to be made of technologies such as small and medium reactors to support developing countries such as in Africa. Such reactors were "safe, secure and sustainable," he said.

Chudakov also drew attention to the role that the IAEA can play in assisting member states in their energy and infrastructure planning to meet climate mitigation goals defined in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), under which individual countries have set out their envisaged post-2020 climate actions. This involves support in improving understanding of nuclear technology's contribution to climate change and its compatibility with sustainability goals.

COP21 - the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - is taking place from 30 November to 11 December, with the aim of delivering a new universal climate change agreement leading to a low-carbon, sustainable future that keeps a global temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News