Full Title: Climate Change and Nuclear Power 2012
Author(s): International Atomic Energy Agency
Publisher(s): International Atomic Energy Agency
Publication Date: January 1, 2013
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Energy is indispensable for development. Enormous increases in energy supply are required to lift 2.7 billion people out of energy poverty. Without a shift in the global approach to energy, however, GHG emissions will increase even further. Meeting the acute growth in energy demand would require a 75% growth in primary energy sup- ply by 2050. In the absence of sweeping policy interventions, this would lead to an increase in energy related CO 2 emissions of 95% by 2050. Yet the scientific consensus is that GHG emissions will need to peak within the next decade or so and then decline by 50%– 85% from today’s levels by 2050 in order to avoid adverse climate change impacts in ecological and socioeconomic systems. The twin challenges over the next 10–20 years will be to keep promoting economic development by providing reliable, safe and affordable energy services while significantly reducing GHG emissions.
- Nuclear power is among the energy sources and technologies available today that could help meet the climate-energy challenge.
- In the electricity sector, nuclear power has been assessed as having the greatest potential to mitigate GHG emissions at the lowest cost.
- Nuclear energy can contribute to resolving other energy supply concerns and has non-climatic environmental benefits.
- The economics of nuclear power are competitive and will be further enhanced by the increasing CO2 costs of fossil based electricity generation.
- The accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which was caused by the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on 11 March 2011, prompted a round of ‘stress tests’ of nuclear power plants around the world and, in September 2012, the first annual progress report on the IAEA’s Action Plan on Nuclear Safety was made.
- Radiation risks from normal plant operation and waste management are small.
- Projections of future nuclear generating capacity point to the continued growth of nuclear power in the longer term.