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IPCC Head to Speak at International Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power


The leader of the United Nations body responsible for assessing climate change science will headline a group of prominent speakers at the International Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power, to be held in Vienna from 7 to 11 October.

Organized by the IAEA in cooperation with the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the conference will provide a forum for exchanging information on the role of nuclear power in combating climate change. See here for the programme overview and list of speakers.

Hoesung Lee, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is scheduled to deliver an address on the opening day. In a report last October, the IPCC featured four model pathways for limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the threshold at which most experts believe the worst impacts from climate change can still be avoided. All four model pathways included increases in nuclear power generation by 2050, ranging between 59% and 501%.

“Nuclear power has long made a major contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and currently produces one-third of the world’s low carbon electricity while also supporting sustainable development and fulfilling growing energy demands,” said IAEA Deputy Director General Mikhail Chudakov, Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy. “We are honoured that Dr. Hoesung Lee, one of the world’s leading scientific voices on climate change, is bringing his expertise to this first-of-a-kind conference.”

The IAEA supports national governments in the safe, secure, sustainable and safeguarded use of nuclear technology and in assisting the formulation of national energy strategies and policies. To support the low-carbon energy transformation needed to achieve climate change goals, the conference will focus on opportunities and challenges for nuclear power development. To this end, organizers have brought together representatives of low-carbon energy sectors, international organizations and national experts.

IAEA Acting Director General Cornel Feruta will open the conference. Other prominent speakers include Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs; William D. Magwood, IV, Director-General of the NEA ; Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency; LI Yong, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization; and senior officials and scientists from 75 countries including Argentina, China, Egypt, France, India, Mongolia, Morocco, the Russian Federation and the United States of America.

“By bringing together experts and policymakers from around the world to exchange views and experiences, the conference can advance our understanding of the potential for nuclear power to add to its ongoing contribution to climate change mitigation and sustainable development,” said Wei Huang, the lead scientific secretary of the conference and Director of Division of Planning, Information and Knowledge Management at the IAEA’s Department of Nuclear Energy.

The conference will include sessions on the following: advancing energy policies that achieve the climate change goals; long-term operation of existing nuclear power plants and their contribution to avoiding greenhouse gas emissions; the factors necessary to support high rates of deployment, including for advanced nuclear power technologies, consistent with achieving climate change goals; public and non-nuclear stakeholders’ perceptions of the role of nuclear power in climate change mitigation; and the prospects for synergies between nuclear power and other low-carbon energy sources.

“To meet ambitious climate change goals, the world will need all forms of clean energy, including their integration into so-called hybrid energy systems that produce zero carbon electricity as well as heat for non-electric applications that can decarbonize other sectors, such as industry and transport,” said Stefano Monti, co-scientific secretary of the conference and Head of Nuclear Power Technology Development at the IAEA. “This conference will provide an excellent opportunity to further study such systems.”

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