Nuclear for Climate

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The Australian Nuclear Association (ANA) supports the international initiative on Nuclear for Climate which highlights the essential contribution of nuclear energy in addressing climate change.

Robert Parker, President of the Australian Nuclear Association signed the Nice Agreement on Nuclear for Climate on behalf of the ANA in Nice, France, on 4 May 2015 (photo below right), see the press_release_from Société Française d’Energie Nucléaire (SFEN).

Parker Signing Declaration
Robert Parker signing the Declaration in Nice, France

Nuclear energy is a key part of the solution to meet increasing electricity demand while reducing greenhouse gases. In 2018, the global nuclear installed capacity reached for the first time 400 GWe, accounting for
more than 10% of global electricity production and 30% of global low carbon electricity production. It represents a real low-carbon alternative to coal, since it also ensures large scale 24/7 electricity production. Greenhouse gas emissions of nuclear power plants are among the lowest of any electricity generation method and on a lifecycle basis are comparable to wind and hydro-electricity.

Australia’s commitment to the 2015 Paris climate agreement has increased the pressure to reduce the carbon emissions from the electricity sector.  Nuclear energy could play a major role in Australia’s decarbonisation if used along with renewable generation such as wind, solar and pumped hydro storage.  Australia’s current energy mix using coal and gas as backup for wind and solar we won’t be able to achieve the decarbonisation required of the grid by 2050.  Nuclear power is a 24/7 source of very low carbon electricity which would greatly contribute to achieving the carbon emissions goal.

The Nuclear for Climate Declaration, signed in Nice France on 4 May 2015 by 39 nuclear societies, representing 50,000 scientists from 36 countries. The Nuclear for Climate now brings together nuclear professionals and scientists from all parts of the globe, through the representation of 150 regional and national nuclear associations and technical societies.

WE THE UNDERSIGNED,

Scientists, engineers, and professionals representing regional, national and international scientific societies, as well as numerous technical organizations dedicated to the development and peaceful use of nuclear technology,

Gathered here today in Nice – France

ACKNOWLEDGE the unequivocal conclusions reached by the majority of climatologists, as stated in the peer reviewed Fifth Assessment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that ”human activities have contributed to changes in the Earth’s climate”;

are HOPEFUL in regards to the outcomes of the Climate Change Conference that will take place in Paris in December 2015 – COP 21 (Conference of Parties);

COGNISANT of the fact that, according to OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), while the global population is expected to reach about 10 billion, with increasing development, electricity demand is currently on track to double by 2050;

SHARE the objective of limiting global warming to a maximum of 2°C by 2050, which will require, according to IPCC, 80% of electricity to come from low-carbon sources by that time (up from only 30% now);

are CONSCIOUS that this presents a massive challenge which will require the deployment of all available low-carbon technologies;

are CONVINCED that the world needs to take immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as a large share of the carbon budget has already been consumed, and that we cannot wait for future technologies to be ready for deployment before launching our decarbonisation efforts;

RECOGNIZE that nuclear energy is one of handful of options available at scale which can help to reduce energy related greenhouse gas emissions, and would emphasise that this view is shared by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) and IPCC.

Hereby declare that

WE PROUDLY BELIEVE THAT NUCLEAR ENERGY IS A KEY PART OF THE SOLUTION IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE

and BELIEVE that each country needs access to the widest possible portfolio of low-carbon technologies available, including nuclear energy, in order to reduce CO2 emissions and meet other energy goals;

CALL FOR the new UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) Protocols to recognize nuclear energy as a low-carbon energy
option, and to include it in its climate funding mechanisms, as is the case for all other low-carbon energy sources.

have DECIDED to jointly sign this declaration and would like to bring it to the attention of decision-makers

On 17 December 2017, the French President Emmanuel Macron said:

“I don’t idolize nuclear energy at all. But I think you have to pick your battle. My priority in France, Europe and internationally is CO2 emissions and (global) warming,”

“What did the Germans do when they shut all their nuclear in one go?,” Macron said.

“They developed a lot of renewables but they also massively reopened thermal and coal. They worsened their CO2 footprint, it wasn’t good for the planet. So I won’t do that.”

For more information on the importance of nuclear in addressing climate change see the Australian Nuclear for Climate website.

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