The evidence of current energy policy in both, developed and developing economies, is a cause of concern since it points to a below optimal reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Climate projections in some regions show increased likelihood of intense heat waves accompanied by droughts, or violent storms, flooding, etc. The effects of such extreme climate events could undermine the operation and output of thermal power plants, and nuclear power plants in particular, which require large quantities of water for cooling.
Given the expected lifetime of nuclear power plants (60 years for new designs), it is clear that climate change considerations must be addressed in the design, planning and licensing stages. Additionally, there may be the need to retrofit existing nuclear power plants to make them more resilient in the face of climate change. Closed cooling systems, more robust water intake systems, more efficient heat exchangers are examples of adaptation measures. The adoption of these measures will have an impact on the cost of nuclear electricity, which must be compared to the cost of inaction, i.e. the risk of forced outages due to extreme weather.
The Ad hoc Expert Group on Climate Change: Assessment of the Vulnerability of Nuclear Power Plants and Cost of Adaptation (NUCA) is responsible for assesing the vulnerability of nuclear power plants, impact of climate change on the contribution of nuclear power to the security of energy supply and the cost of adapting to changes in the climate.
The goal of the Committee for Technical and Economic Studies on Nuclear Energy Development and the Fuel Cycle is to provide authoritative, reliable information on nuclear technologies, economics, strategies and resources to governments for use in policy analyses and decision-making.