June 19, 2024

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The debate over nuclear’s role in the energy transition continues

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Cooling towers at a nuclear power plant in Slovakia. Nuclear power is likely to be discussed in great detail at the COP28 climate change summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Janos Kummer | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The role that nuclear power should play in creating a more sustainable future has long provoked strong feelings — among advocates and critics alike.

It’s set to be a hot topic at the COP28 summit in Dubai, which begins this week. There are reports that there will be a concerted effort to get behind a big increase in nuclear capacity from now to 2050.

Of particular interest to observers will be a ministerial event called “Atoms4NetZero” on Dec. 5. Co-hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the COP28 presidency, the event will “announce the IAEA Statement on Nuclear Power,” according to the COP28 website.

That, it adds, reflects the “critical role of nuclear in the net zero transition.”

Atoms4NetZero was namechecked by the World Nuclear Association in September when it announced the launch of an initiative called “Net Zero Nuclear,” which aims to triple the planet’s nuclear capacity by the middle of the century.

In a statement issued alongside that announcement, Rafael Mariano Grossi, the IAEA’s director general, stressed the importance of the coming climate summit.

“Building on the efforts made during COP 26 and COP 27, nuclear energy will feature even more prominently at COP28,” he said.

“As more nations understand the role nuclear can play in achieving energy security and decarbonisation targets, global support for nuclear energy is growing,” he added.

The IAEA, for its part, will also have its own “Atoms4Climate” pavilion at COP28, where it says it will “showcase how nuclear technology and science are addressing the twin challenge of climate change mitigation and adaptation.”

A major debate

In a sign of how polarizing the debate around the subject can be, this month, the leader of Germany’s center-right Christian Democratic Union…

2023-11-27 01:24:00

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