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Nuclear Power in 21st Century

Hanbit Nuclear Power Plant, Korea

Nuclear energy reliably delivers low carbon electricity at stable prices for decades and can significantly enhance countries' energy security. Learn more here. (Photo: Hanbit Nuclear Power Plant, Korea, Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power)

High-level decision-makers will be meeting at the IAEA's Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century, convening in Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, from 27 to 29 June 2013.

Gathering every four years, the Ministerial Conference organised this year in St. Petersburg follows the IAEA's Ministerial Conferences on Nuclear Power held in Beijing in 2009 and in Paris in 2005.

Looking ahead to this high-level meeting, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said, "This timely Conference provides a valuable opportunity to take stock of nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi accident and to look forward and consider nuclear power's long-term contribution to sustainable development."

The 2011 Nuclear Power Plant accident caused anxiety about nuclear safety throughout the world and raised questions about the future of nuclear power. Two years later, nuclear power deployment continues to grow and is expected to expand further in the coming decades, although growth will be slower than was anticipated before the accident.

Noting that the factors contributing to the growing interest in nuclear power include increasing global demand for energy, concerns about climate change, volatile fossil fuel prices, and security of energy supply, the Director General cautioned that "it will be difficult for the world to achieve the twin goals of ensuring sustainable energy supplies and curbing greenhouse gases without nuclear power."

The Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century will discuss how nuclear power contributes to sustainable development, including climate change mitigation, and helps meet the growing world energy demand.

Ministers and experts will examine the status and prospects of nuclear power for the future, including the importance of nuclear safety as necessary prerequisites for nuclear power.

The continuous improvement of the performance and reliability of nuclear power plants and measures to strengthen nuclear safety, as well as interfaces between safety and security, also feature prominently on the agenda.

Since several countries are introducing, or preparing to introduce, nuclear power, the Conference will be discussing the multifaceted development of nuclear infrastructure and viable new models for financing nuclear projects and developing radioactive waste management.

Nuclear technology is also evolving. The Conference will discuss how governments and other investors can create conditions that foster the deployment of innovative technologies, such as fast reactors, closed fuel cycles and new designs of small modular reactors.

The Conference President's concluding statement is available here.

Background

The IAEA helps countries that opt for nuclear power to use it safely and securely. It also assists countries that have decided to phase out nuclear power manage issues such as plant decommissioning, and waste management for decades to come.


(Note to Media: We encourage you to republish these stories and kindly request attribution to the IAEA)