IAEA publishes report on nuclear energy for a net-zero world ahead of COP26 climate summit

IAEA publishes report on nuclear energy for a net-zero world ahead of COP26 climate summit



In the run-up to the COP26 climate summit, the IAEA published Nuclear energy for a net-zero world. The special report highlights the crucial role of nuclear power in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and 2030 Agenda for sustainable development by displacing coal and other fossil fuels, enabling the continued use of renewable energies and becoming an economical source of large quantities of clean hydrogen.

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In the run-up to the COP26 climate summit, the IAEA published Nuclear energy for a net-zero world. The special report highlights the crucial role of nuclear power in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and 2030 Agenda for sustainable development by displacing coal and other fossil fuels, enabling the continued use of renewable energies and becoming an economical source of large quantities of clean hydrogen.

As governments, business and society leaders from around the world prepare to grapple with the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow From October 31st to November 12th, the IAEA report sets out the reasons why nuclear energy should come to the table in every discussion of energy and climate policy. In addition, nine countries – Canada, China, Finland, France, Jan, Poland, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom – made statements in the report to support their findings on the contribution of nuclear power to climate action.

On the occasion of the publication of the report, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi will hold a conversation in a Online event later today with Michal Kurtyka, the Polish Minister for Climate and Environment. “Over the past five decades, nuclear power has cumulatively avoided the emission of around 70 gigatons (Gt) of carbon dioxide (CO2) and has continued to avoid more than 1 Gt of CO2 annually,” said the director general in his foreword to the report. “On the way to (COP26), it is time to make evidence-based decisions and increase investment in nuclear energy. The cost of not doing this is far too high to bear. “

The report shows the importance of nuclear energy in achieving the net zero greenhouse gas emissions goal by ensuring 24/7 energy supplies, ensuring the stability and resilience of power grids, and broader integration of variable renewables such as wind and solar The clean energy transition is facilitated, which are necessary for the propulsion. In addition, nuclear power is well suited as a solid source of low-carbon electricity to replace coal and other fossil fuels while providing heat and hydrogen to decarbonise hard-to-reduce sectors like industry and transportation. As such, nuclear energy represents one of the most effective investments in global post-pandemic economic recovery and contributes directly to the UN’s sustainable development goals for energy, economic expansion and climate protection.

A central topic at COP26 will be Accelerating the transition from coal. According to the report, replacing 20% ​​of coal production with 250 GW of nuclear energy would reduce emissions by 2 Gt of CO2, or about 15% of emissions from the electricity sector per year. Nuclear power can also replace coal-fired boilers for district heating and industry.

The report also outlines how nuclear energy can be a major engine of economic growth, creating jobs in many sectors and enabling a fair transition to clean energy. Nuclear power, which accounts for 10% of global electricity generation, already provides over 800,000 jobs. International Monetary Fund estimates show that investing in nuclear energy has a greater economic impact than investing in other forms of energy, making it one of the most effective measures for sustainable economic recovery and the transition to a resilient net-zero energy system.

Poland is a country that plans to build nuclear power plants (NPP) to reduce reliance on coal, which currently generates around 70% of the country’s electricity and provides around 200,000 jobs. “The operation of nuclear power plants in our country will help to achieve the goal of climate neutrality, have a positive impact on the economy, create new, highly specialized industries and improve the country’s energy security,” said Kurtyka, who was also President of COP24, When Poland hosted the UN climate conference in 2018, a statement said in the report. “It is estimated that new industries related to renewable energy and nuclear power will help create around 300,000 new jobs.”

The nuclear-renewable partnership will be key to bringing emissions down to net zero, according to the report. Because it is switchable, low-emission, flexible and reliable, nuclear power can support an electricity-based net-zero energy mix and at the same time help to lower the costs of the entire electricity generation system.

Non-energy sectors such as steel, cement and chemical production, shipping and aviation – which together account for around 60% of energy-related global emissions – will require the use of heat or energy sources such as hydrogen, which have a low carbon footprint. Nuclear energy can provide low-carbon heat and can be used to produce hydrogen, especially with high-temperature reactors currently under development.

The report underlines how resilient energy systems are based on the robustness of individual generation technologies, network infrastructure and demand-side measures. The nuclear sector is well prepared to face the challenges of climate change, including the risks of more frequent and extreme weather events, and has developed specific measures to mitigate these risks. While the incidence of weather-related failures in nuclear power plants has increased over the past 30 years, the IAEA says overall production losses have been low, with fewer losses over the past decade Power reactor information system.

The publication recommends a number of measures to accelerate the wider deployment of nuclear energy, including:

  • Introduction of carbon prices and measures to value low carbon energy
  • Adoption of target and technology-neutral framework conditions for low-carbon investments
  • Ensure markets, regulations and policies value and reward nuclear power’s contribution to reliable and resilient low carbon energy systems
  • Encourage public investment and support private investment in nuclear energy, including reactor life extension, through Green Deal and renovation packages
  • Promotion of diversified electricity systems in order to mitigate climate risks for the energy infrastructure and ensure the continuity and quality of electricity services

“The task ahead of us – capping the global mean temperature rise to 1.5 ° C and achieving net zero emissions by 2050 – is a daunting challenge and an immense economic opportunity,” said John Kerry, President’s special envoy on climate the United States of America said in its statement for the IAEA report. “The global clean energy transition will require the massive deployment of the full spectrum of clean energy technologies, including nuclear, over the next decade and beyond.”

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