Nuclear helps make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

  • Over half the population in the world’s cities endures worsening air pollution. One major contributor to air pollution in cities are the exhaust fumes from petrol or diesel road vehicles.
  • Using nuclear generation to recharge electric vehicles helps reduce transport greenhouse gas emissions as well as reducing air pollution in cities. 
  • Nuclear power plants can also be used for district heating, avoiding pollution from fossil fuels.

Governments around the world are introducing policies to phase out internal combustion engines as the power source for road transport and encourage the use of electric vehicles that will avoid the direct emissions currently produced by petrol or diesel.

However, if the electricity used for transport is produced using fossil fuels this will still result in air pollution, such as smog and ozone, as well greenhouse gas emissions.

A sustainable shift to electric vehicles will increase demand for clean energy, including nuclear energy. With overnight charging likely to be a popular choice, the high availability of nuclear power plants will be an important factor.

Hydrogen fuel cells may also have a significant role to play in future transport systems. Again, it will be essential to produce hydrogen from clean energy sources. Nuclear reactors can already be used to produce hydrogen by electrolysis, and high-temperature reactors will be able to produce hydrogen through thermochemical techniques.

Heating homes with low-carbon alternatives will also contribute to meeting the goals of SDG11. Low-carbon hydrogen could replace natural gas in central heating boilers or greater use could be made of electric storage heaters.

For smaller and remote communities, small modular reactors are well-suited to provide clean electricity and heat.

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