Group of Vienna aims to tackle global challenges

23 September 2021

Global nuclear industry leaders have agreed to work together with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as the Group of Vienna to apply nuclear energy to addressing climate change and advancing sustainable development.

A photograph from the Group of Vienna's founding meeting (Image: Eletronuclear)

"The existential threats of our times require all actors to work together in order to secure a better future for coming generations," said IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi at the group's inaugural meeting, yesterday. He assembled thirteen industry CEOs on his own initiative to create The Group of Vienna as a high-level platform for discussion between the IAEA and industry on how new nuclear technologies and techniques can be used to their full potential. Grossi wants to use "the amazing ability of the atom to combat climate change, treat disease, prevent hunger and much else," the IAEA said.

Founding members at the meeting yesterday were the heads of 13 nuclear companies from around the world: China National Nuclear Corporation, EDF, Eletronuclear, Kazatomprom, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Nucleoeléctrica Argentina, NuScale, Rolls Royce SMR, Rosatom, SNC-Lavalin, Teollisuuden Voima Oyj and Urenco. They were joined by the Brazilian minister of mines and energy, Bento Albuquerque, as a guest.

The CEO of Kazatomprom, Mahzit Sharipov, said: "Discussions at the event were centred on the important developments and innovations in the nuclear field, exploring how the private sector might be able to partner with the IAEA to enhance the deployment of nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes."

"Climate change, food security, cancer treatment, water management and plastic pollution are just a few of the challenges that can be supported by nuclear techniques," noted Urenco CEO Boris Schucht.

Eletronuclear CEO Leonam dos Santos Guimarães said, "The Group of Vienna intends to accelerate and expand the contribution of these technologies to meet global environmental, social and economic goals and to improve the health and well-being of the population."

A joint statement set out the Group of Vienna's aims: "Nuclear technologies make a vital contribution to addressing the world's unprecedented challenges, including climate change, poverty, equitable access to clean and affordable energy and human health.

"Energy is a key enabler of sustainable development and nuclear power provides clean, reliable, safe and sustainable energy, thereby helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enabling the achievement of internationally agreed climate goals, and supporting other important environmental objectives," the statement continued. "Other nuclear technologies and techniques play important roles in supporting social and economic objectives, for example, by diagnosing and treating cancer and by improving food production."

The group intends to meet regularly to discuss "the latest developments in the nuclear field and their contribution to addressing key challenges." It will also "support the IAEA in its mission to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of nuclear technologies to meeting environmental, social, and economic objectives and to improve the health and well-being of people."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News