Climate Change and Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy and climate change

To control carbon dioxide emissions and associated climate change, the world must rapidly reduce its dependency on fossil fuels. Nuclear energy is low carbon, and can be deployed on a large scale. 


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. 


UN COP Climate Change Conferences

Every year the UN holds a climate change conference. Our association has been involved in many of the COP event over the course of more than 20 years. 


Experts tell COP24 nuclear energy has an important role to play in tackling climate change (7 Dec 2018)

A panel of energy experts have highlighted the important role nuclear energy has to play in combating climate change and have called on negotiators to enable all low carbon technologies to fulfil their full potential.

Nuclear energy discussed at COP24 as an important clean energy solution (3 Dec 2018)

Agneta Rising, World Nuclear Association Director General, will be speaking on 6 December at a COP24 side-event organised by the Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy Future initiative, which was established in 2018 at the ninth Clean Energy Ministerial meeting.

The Harmony programme

We coordinate the Harmony programme on behalf of the nuclear community to identify the measures that need to be put in place to deliver a low-carbon future to which nuclear energy fully contributes.

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.

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.

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.

'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.


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.

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.