IAEA and Poland say the current energy crisis underscores the need for nuclear energy to meet climate targets

IAEA and Poland say the current energy crisis underscores the need for nuclear energy to meet climate targets



The ongoing energy crisis affecting Europe and other regions of the world further underscores the need for nuclear energy as the world works to meet climate change goals and the transition from fossil fuels. This was one of the topics of a broad discussion today in the run-up to the COP26 climate summit between IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi and the Polish climate and environment minister Michal Kurtyka.

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The ongoing energy crisis affecting Europe and other regions of the world further underscores the need for nuclear energy as the world works to meet climate change goals and the transition from fossil fuels. This was one of the topics of a broad discussion today in the run-up to the COP26 climate summit between IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi and the Polish climate and environment minister Michal Kurtyka.

“The energy landscape has a number of uncertainties that are clear to everyone – uncertainties due to market volatility, but also the ambitious goals that we must adopt in view of the other climate change crisis that affects us all,” said Mr Grossi in the online Conversation that came when the IAEA released its new report Nuclear energy for a net-zero world. “There is a clear and growing realization that we are faced with a number of challenges that require that we have all options to successfully address them.”

As natural gas prices skyrocket in Europe, Asia and some other regions, Mr. Kurtyka said the world is entering an unprecedented energy crisis that “will certainly distort the thinking of many countries right now that nuclear power must be part of the solution, not as an unwanted child. “

Poland, which generates 70% of its electricity from coal, plans to build several nuclear power plants to significantly reduce its reliance on the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel and meet climate goals, said Kurtyka, who was president of COP24 when Poland hosted the UN in 2018 Climate summit. Nuclear power emits almost no greenhouse gas emissions during operation and produces more than a quarter of the world’s clean electricity.

“Our nuclear program foresees that between 6 and 9 GW of nuclear energy will be installed by 2043, that is, six reactors, and this will play an extremely important role in replacing the existing base load capacity based on conventional fuels,” said The Minister.

Poland has ambitious plans to use electricity from its future reactors and offshore wind farms to produce clean hydrogen. In addition, Kurtyka said the country is working with Jan to explore the possibility of using high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs), which can improve efficiency and reduce the cost of hydrogen production.

With COP26 kicking off in the UK just two weeks away, both men said they have high hopes that the world will use the event to increase their ambitions to meet the climate goals. The IAEA will host several events in Glasgow highlighting the role of nuclear energy and technology in mitigating and promoting climate change.

Mr Grossi, who attended the previous UN climate conference in Madrid on his first official trip as IAEA chief in 2019, said: “We are now preparing to go to Glasgow, where the IAEA will not only understand the importance of nuclear energy for us will demonstrate. ”to a net zero world, but also as a force for good in terms of the technologies, the science and the applications that enable us to work in other sectors such as agriculture and food security in a world that is changing to help with the necessary expansion warmer. “

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