IAEA opens conference on nuclear power’s role in tackling climate change

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VIENNA, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) — Climate change is one of the greatest challenges to the world, but reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be difficult to achieve without a significant increase in the use of nuclear power, according to the acting chief of UN nuclear watchdog at a conference held here on Monday.

“It is difficult to see how the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved without a significant increase in the use of nuclear power in the coming decades,” said Cornel Feruta, Acting Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the opening remarks at the International Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power.

“Advances being made in several countries concerning the final disposal of high-level radioactive waste may help alleviate public concerns about the long-term sustainability of nuclear power,” he added.

Some 550 participants representing 79 countries and 18 international organizations are taking part in the week-long conference, the first on this topic organized by the IAEA.

Held in cooperation with the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the event serves as “a unique forum for exchanging science-based information and conducting objective discussions on the role of nuclear power in mitigating climate change”, according to the official website of IAEA.

Currently, 30 countries operate 449 nuclear power reactors worldwide, generating 10 percent of the world’s electricity and one third of all low-carbon electricity. In terms of emissions avoidance, that’s the equivalent of taking 400 million cars off the road every year, according to Feruta.

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