Nuclear offers the possibility of a faster transition to a low-carbon energy future and supports the shift to a hydrogen economy, IAEA Director General Mariano Grossi told attendees this week. the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Attending the meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday in Davos, Switzerland, Grossi met with world leaders and discussed the decarbonization potential of nuclear power to meet global climate goals. He also referred to the activities of the IAEA concerning Ukraine and Iran.
The WEF is an international organization focused on promoting public-private cooperation. Its annual meeting attracts thought leaders from around the world to share their views on pressing global issues.
In an opinion piece on the WEF website, Mr Grossi said nuclear has growing support in the fight against climate change, that reaching net zero carbon emissions will require a doubling of nuclear capacity and that technologies such as small modular reactors (SMRs) and spent fuel repositories improve nuclear affordability and safety.
“Forty percent of nuclear power plants in operation today were built in the wake of the last major energy crisis and now provide – after considerable initial costs – some of the cheapest electricity in the world,” Mr. Grossi, explaining that today more than 440 operating nuclear reactors around the world produce a quarter of its low-carbon electricity, and more than 50 reactors are currently under construction.
The Director General argued that as innovations, such as SMRs, come to market, they will provide more options for countries and industries. Grossi wrote that SMRs will be faster and more affordable to build, have a greater level of inherent safety due to their design, offer more flexibility for coupling with solar and wind power, and are being developed by many countries around the world.
In March, the IAEA launched a new initiative, the Nuclear Harmonization and Standardization Initiative (NHSI), to accelerate and facilitate the effective global deployment of safe and secure SMRs and other advanced nuclear technologies, in order to maximize their contribution to sustainable development and climate change. targets.
Speaking today on the WEF panel ‘A Nuclear Option? with Polish Climate and Environment Minister Anna Moskwa, newcleo Ltd Founder and Managing Director Stefano Buono, and moderated by Thomson Reuters Editor-in-Chief Dmitry Zhdannikov, Mr. Grossi highlighted the importance of nuclear energy in the European energy mix and the growing interest in nuclear energy on a global scale. A recording of the event is available in replay.
“In many places we see nuclear being seen as an interesting element in this family of efforts, to have a normal reconciliation of sufficiently fueled economic growth and taking care of the environment,” Grossi said.
Mr Grossi answered a question from the audience about the current status with Iran, and said the revival of the JCPOA – sometimes called the “Iran nuclear deal” – was going through “a lot of difficulties” due to non-nuclear issues. issues. He said the IAEA was working with the country to resolve a number of other outstanding safeguards issues.