In a new
study released today, the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) concludes that
nuclear power could play a role in alleviating the risk of global climate
change and that its contribution to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
could be significant. Keeping the nuclear option open in order to realise
this potential will require a number of actions by governments and by
industries in the nuclear sector.
In the Protocol
agreed upon in Kyoto at the end of 1997 by the Parties to the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change, a number of industrial countries
(called "Annex 1 countries") have made commitments to reduce
their GHG emissions. Also, under the Protocol, these countries shall undertake
promotion, research, development and increased use of new and renewable
forms of energy, of carbon dioxide sequestration technologies and of advanced
and innovative environmentally sound technologies. One important option
that could be covered by the last phrase, although it is not specifically
mentioned, is nuclear energy which is essentially carbon-free.
The main objective
of this new NEA study is to provide a quantitative basis for assessing
the consequences for the nuclear sector and for the reduction of GHG emissions
of alternative nuclear development paths. The analysis covers the economic,
financial, industrial and potential environmental effects of three alternative
nuclear power development paths ("nuclear variants"), respectively
assuming continued nuclear growth, phase-out, and stagnation followed
by revival. Each of the three variants would create challenges for the
nuclear sector, but all of them would be feasible in terms of natural
resource availability and industrial implementation.
News Media Contact:
NUCLEAR POWER AND CLIMATE
CHANGE is available free on request from the Publications Office
of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, Le Seine St. Germain, 12 boulevard
des Îles, 92130 Issy-les-Moulineaux, France.