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IAEA Scientific Forum Highlights Role of Nuclear Innovation for Net Zero

Vienna, Austria

Experts from around the world will meet at the IAEA Scientific Forum this week to highlight the role of new nuclear reactors in future energy production and showcase the use of nuclear power technology to avoid greenhouse gases in industrial applications and other areas. Joined by IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, several Ministers and other high-level speakers, they will explore the importance of innovations, such as artificial intelligence, digitalization, robotics and advanced manufacturing, in supporting nuclear development.

The two-day event, Nuclear Innovations for Net Zero, is open to the media and will be streamed live from the opening at 09:30 CEST on 26 September 2023.

The Forum, taking place on the sidelines of the IAEA General Conference, #IAEAGC, will take place in Board Room D of the C-Building of the Vienna International Centre (VIC).

Details of the Scientific Forum can be found on the IAEA website and social media (TwitterFacebookInstagramLinkedIn). Photos of the Forum will also be available on Flickr.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi will open the Scientific Forum with high-level speakers:

H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo, President, Ghana

H.E. Ms Jennifer Granholm, Secretary of Energy, United States of America

H.E. Mr Lee Jong-Ho, Minister, Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT), Republic of Korea

H.E. Ms Leila Benali, Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, Kingdom of Morocco

H.E. Mr Daniel Westlén, Vice Minister for Climate and the Environment, Sweden

H.E. Mr François Jacq, General Administrator, French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), France

Keynote speaker: Isabelle Boemeke, influencer

Discussions at the Forum will centre around three sessions:

Session 1: New Nuclear Reactors for Energy Production will focus on new reactor concepts already implemented and present visionary outlooks for future developments. It will showcase how innovative ideas for small and large reactors will shape our decarbonised energy future.

Current advanced reactor designs provide new options for use and include extensive built-in safety features. Small modular reactors increase flexibility in capacity thanks to integrated energy systems. Fast reactors, thorium reactors and other new technologies can provide novel fuel cycle solutions.

Session 2: Innovative Solutions to Support Nuclear Development will explore how innovative solutions — from front end to back end — will enable extended prospects of nuclear power. It will highlight innovations that have already been implemented and present outlooks for future solutions that will support nuclear power plant design and operation, fuel cycle and end-of-life-activities.

The prospects of nuclear power depend on more than innovations in reactor technologies. Digitalization improves performance and reliability while moderating human factors. Security of supply, availability of waste and spent fuel solutions, decommissioning preparedness and other factors play an essential role in the future of nuclear power and should also be adopted in reactor technology developments. There are many cases of how innovations, such as artificial intelligence, digitalization, robotics and advanced manufacturing, pave the way for safe and sustainable solutions supporting nuclear development.

Session 3: Nuclear Power Going Beyond Electricity Production will showcase how nuclear technology can be used to avoid greenhouse gases in new applications. Speakers will discuss how innovative concepts could contribute to resilient energy systems through a wide range of deployment options.

Today, high-emitting fossil fuels power most industrial processes, transport and building heating systems. The expanded use of nuclear power for industrial purposes, including district heating, desalination and industrial processes in remote locations, and new deployment models, such as floating nuclear power plants, offer options to reduce emissions and increase the security of supply of the global energy system.

In a special panel, Nuclear for NetZero: Youth Leading the Way, emerging experts will discuss their motivations for joining the nuclear industry, their vision for the industry in 2050, and potential strategies to attract young people to the nuclear sector.

The Forum will conclude with a closing session including remarks by IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi and high-level speakers:

H.E. Mr Kai Mykkänen, Minister of Climate and Environment, Republic of Finland

H.E. Mr Andrew Bowie MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Nuclear and Networks), United Kingdom 

Mr Yu Jianfeng, China National Nuclear Corporation Chairman, China  

Mr Peter Baeten, Director General, Belgian Nuclear Research Center SCK CEN, Belgium

Ms Sama Bilbao, CEO of World Nuclear Association

The detailed programme and full list of speakers can be found here. Some of the speakers are available for interviews. Please contact the IAEA Press Office for more details.


Journalists with permanent credentials to the VIC need no additional credentials. We encourage those journalists who do not yet have permanent accreditation to request it at UNIS Vienna.

Others should contact the IAEA Press Office for accreditation.


Last update: 25 September 2023

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