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IAEA Issues 2014 Edition of Climate Change and Nuclear Power

Climate Change and Nuclear Power

The IAEA’s Climate Change and Nuclear Power reports are aimed at informing Member States on how nuclear power can contribute to mitigating climate change. (Photo: A. Evrensel/IAEA)

The IAEA’s latest edition of the Climate Change and Nuclear Power report, issued today, examines the role of nuclear power in mitigating global climate change and how it contributes to other developmental and environmental challenges.

"As the report shows, global energy demand is likely to grow dramatically in the coming decades," said IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, launching the report. "At the same time, the world’s carbon footprint must be reduced."

Speaking at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting this morning, the Director General said that nuclear energy, along with hydropower and wind, had the lowest life-cycle CO2 emissions. He highlighted: “As part of a low-carbon national energy portfolio, it contributes to the mitigation of climate change and can help to reduce concerns over volatile fuel prices and security of energy supply.”

Mr Amano added: “I hope Member States will find it useful as they prepare for next year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference.”

The launch of Climate Change and Nuclear Power 2014 comes just before the next round of global climate talks to be held from 1 to12 December 2014 in Lima, Peru. This annual global climate meeting, held under the auspices of the Conference of the Parties (COP20) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), provides a key opportunity for countries to negotiate and shape their contribution to reducing carbon emissions before a definitive commitment in Paris in 2015. Participating in the Conference, the IAEA will be showcasing the report at the IAEA information booth to highlight nuclear power's contribution to the global climate change agenda.

The report also discusses nuclear power’s non-climatic environmental benefits, such as helping reduce local and regional air pollution. It is considered in climate change adaptation measures, such as seawater desalination or hedging against hydropower fluctuations.  

Moreover, the report examines broader issues such as the costs of nuclear energy, safety, waste management and non-proliferation, as well as changes in energy markets and recent developments in technology and in resource supply. It makes clear that "the final decision to introduce or expand nuclear energy in the national energy portfolio rests with sovereign states."

Substantially revised from the 2013 edition, the report incorporates new scientific information as well as new analyses, technical reports and other publications that have become available in 2014. For topics where available information has not substantially changed within the past year, such as nuclear energy applications beyond the power sector, the thorium option, fast reactors and fusion, summaries are provided in the appendix and readers are referred to the earlier edition.

In addition to presenting the latest nuclear power projections of the IAEA, the report explores emerging issues that will affect the relationship between climate change and nuclear power in the coming decades.

Last update: 27 Jul 2017

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