IAEA Issues Expanded Report on Climate Change and Nuclear Power

Report Examines Broader Issues Relevant to Climate Change - Nuclear Energy Nexus

Nuclear power plants, like this one in Olkiluoto, Finland, produce virtually no greenhouse gas emissions or pollutants during their operation and only very low emissions over their entire life cycle. (Photo: L. Potterton/IAEA)

The IAEA has issued its latest report on Climate Change and Nuclear Power 2013, to coincide with the next round of global climate talks to be held on 11-22 November 2013 in Warsaw, Poland.

This annual global climate meeting is being held under the auspices of the Conference of the Parties (COP19) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The IAEA is participating in the Conference and will be showcasing the Report at the IAEA Information Booth to highlight nuclear power's contribution to the global climate change agenda.

The report has been substantially revised, updated and extended from the previous edition (2012). It summarizes the role of nuclear power in mitigating global climate change and how it contributes to other development and environmental challenges. It also examines broader themes relevant to climate/nuclear energy issues such as cost, safety, waste management and non-proliferation. The 2013 edition also now includes a section on prospects for nuclear power, highlighting new developments in resource supply, innovative nuclear technologies, including fusion and advanced fuel cycles.

The report is divided into sections that deal with specific issues related to climate change and nuclear power. Section 3 presents the climate change challenge and explains how nuclear power mitigates it. Section 4 is nuclear-power specific, addressing issues ranging from economic competitiveness and investment costs to financing and construction capacity. Section 5 is devoted to concerns surrounding nuclear power, including radiation risks, safety and waste management, as well as current efforts to address them. Section 6 looks into the future demands and technology advancements.

In addition to presenting the latest projections of the IAEA, the report discusses the current status of promising nuclear energy technology options that may become important contributors to climate change mitigation in the coming decades.

The report, Climate Change and Nuclear Power 2013, is available on the web sites of the Planning and Economic Studies Section in the IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy and of the IAEA Scientific and Technical Publications.

Last update: 10 September 2014