Nuclear industry must act to meet the challenge of climate change

17 March 2015  

The nuclear industry must stand ready to meet the challenge of supplying the growing demand for low carbon electricity that must result from the forthcoming COP 21 climate change negotiations in Paris. 

World Nuclear Association Chair, Jean-Jacques Gautrot, speaking at the Nuclear Africa conference, said: 

"COP 21 must conclude with agreement on serious guidelines to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally. Failure could mean the 2 degrees target becomes an impossible objective." (1)

"A doubling or tripling of the current nuclear generation capacity is recognised as an important component of any global action.(2) This would pose many challenges to the nuclear industry, but they are challenges we can and we must overcome."

South Africa is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Safari-1 research reactor, which has centre for nuclear research and has provided vital radioisotopes such as Mo-99 for use in nuclear medicine. 

South Africa is also the first country in Africa to operate nuclear reactors for electricity generation. Jean-Jacques Gautrot said: 

"South Africa has all the competencies needed to remain a major player in the world nuclear industry. New nuclear build should play an important role in South Africa's future energy and environmental strategy. 

With other countries in Africa looking to develop nuclear energy, South Africa is well-placed to benefit by sharing its experience of nuclear technologies as part of a drive towards a new century of clean electricity supply."

(1) Governments will meet in Paris at the end of this year at the UNFCCC COP21 meeting to negotiate a new climate change agreement.  

(2) The International Energy Agency Technology Roadmap : Nuclear Energy 2015 concluded that :

"The contributions of nuclear energy - providing valuable base-load electricity, supplying important ancillary services to the grid and contributing to the security of energy supply - must be fully acknowledged." 

"Global capacity must more than double, with nuclear supplying 17% of global electricity generation in 2050, to meet the IEA 2 Degree Scenario for the most effective and efficient means of limiting global temperature rise to the internationally agreed maximum."

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