Climate Change and Nuclear Energy

Nuclear Energy and Climate Change

Nuclear energy is a vital component of a clean energy strategy. Currently nuclear generation avoids the emission of over two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.


Nuclear Footprints

Nuclear footprints tells how nuclear energy can help protect people and our planet.


COP 22

COP 22, held in Marrakech in November 2016, was the first COP to be held after the entry into force of the Paris Agreement.


Nuclear must be part of the international response to climate change (17 November 2016)

Agneta Rising, Director General of the World Nuclear Association has called on parties to make it clear that nuclear energy will be part of their response to succeed in action on climate change.

Nuclear key to a clean energy future: IEA World Energy Outlook (16 November 2016)

Nuclear energy is an important pillar of a future energy system aimed at meeting the world’s growing energy needs and avoiding the worst effects of climate change, according to a new report published today by the International Energy Agency.

The Harmony programme

Harmony envisages a diverse mix of low carbon generating technologies deployed in such a manner that the benefits of each are maximised while the negative impacts are minimised.

Nuclear energy needed to enable Paris Agreement objectives to be met (4 November 2016)

The Paris Agreement will require ambitious action across all sectors. A priority should be the decarbonisation of the electricity supply sector, using nuclear energy in harmony with other forms of low carbon generation.

COP 21

Find out more about what happened at the COP 21 climate change conference in Paris in December 2015

Nuclear for Climate

Nuclear for Climate is an initiative that brings together more than 160 nuclear societies & associations from all over the world, all committed to fight climate change. 

Climate Change - The Science

The greenhouse effect occurs naturally, providing a habitable climate. Atmospheric concentrations of some of the gases that produce the greenhouse effect are increasing due to human activity and most of the world's climate scientists believe this causes global warming and resulting climate change.

Policy Responses to Climate Change

Climate change is a worldwide problem and policy responses have accordingly had an international basis, the principal focus has been on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Nuclear power can have a significant role in limiting greenhouse gas emissions while enabling access to abundant electricity.

Greenhouse gas emissions avoided

There are many different electrical generation methods, each having advantages and disadvantages with respect to operational cost, environmental impact, and other factors. Generating electricity from fossil fuels results in greenhouse gas emissions an order of magnitude higher than when using nuclear or renewable generation.

Uranium, Electricity and Climate Change

Uranium can supply energy for the world's electricity with less greenhouse effect than virtually any other energy source.

Sustainable Energy

Energy resources are available to supply mankind's expanding needs without environmental detriment. Wastes remain a major concern whether they are released to the environment or not. Until about 30 years ago, energy sustainability was thought of simply in terms of availability relative to the rate of use. Today, in the context of the ethical framework of sustainable development, including particularly concerns about global warming, other aspects are also very important.

'Clean Coal' Technologies

Burning coal without adding to global carbon dioxide levels is a major technological challenge. The greatest challenge is bringing the cost of capture and storage technology down sufficiently for 'clean coal' to compete with nuclear power.

Renewable Energy and Electricity

Like nuclear power, renewable energy provides electricity without giving rise to significant carbon dioxide emissions. However, utilising electricity from solar and wind in a grid requires effective back-up generating capacity due to their intermittent nature and consequent low capacity factor.

Electricity and Energy Storage

Energy storage on a large scale has become a major focus of attention and research as intermittent renewable energy has become more prevalent.


Germany's Energiewende (energy transition) is a national program to change to a renewable-dominated energy system and phase out nuclear power. The government has estimated that the total cost of this could reach €1 trillion.