The IAEA has issued an updated report on Climate Change and Nuclear Power 2011, to coincide with the next round of global climate talks in Durban, South Africa being held under the auspices of the Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The IAEA is participating in the Conference and will be presenting the Report to highlight nuclear power's contribution to the global climate change agenda.
The report, which revises and updates a 2009 edition, summarizes the potential role of nuclear power in mitigating global climate change and how it contributes to other development and environmental challenges. It also examines issues such as cost, safety, waste management and non-proliferation.
"Nuclear power is good for the climate." That is the basic message that the IAEA - through the report - would like to convey in Durban, according to Mr. Hans-Holger Rogner, Section Head of the IAEA Planning and Economic Studies Section in the Department of Nuclear Energy. It is the same message that the Agency has conveyed in previous COP gatherings, as there continues to be a lack of understanding of the benefits that nuclear power can bring in mitigating climate change, Mr. Rogner added.
The 2011 report reiterates the basic benefits and competitiveness of nuclear power, particularly how it can address the twin challenges of global climate change and energy demand, with one major addition.
"We wrote the report after the Fukushima accident," clarifies Mr. Rogner, "so the implications of the effects of the accident on nuclear power are reflected in it."
This impact has resulted in a shift in the IAEA's projections, so that figures for 2011 are about 7-8% lower than those of 2010. Nevertheless, while the use of nuclear power is contested in some countries, there have been, by and large, no major retractions from nuclear power programmes of most Member States.
"The basic drivers that fueled the 'renaissance of interest' in nuclear power have not changed," Mr. Rogner explained. "Concerns about growing energy demands, environmental pressures, volatile fossil fuel prices and energy security are still here," he pointed out, "so expectations are that while there may be a major shift in projections and expected delay, no major reduction in production can be expected."
The report, Climate Change and Nuclear Power 2011, is available on the Website of the Planning and Economic Studies Section in the Department of Nuclear Energy.