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Report says nuclear energy’s role in fighting climate change under threat

Published 04 May 2017

A report released by the Global Nexus Initiative (GNI) has revealed that nuclear power is essential for addressing climate change, but significant changes are required in technology development and global governance in order to continue that vital role.

The GNI is a joint project of the Partnership for Global Security, a think-tank with a long history of offering innovative solutions to global nuclear security challenges, and the Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization.

Maria Korsnick, President and CEO of NEI, said: “America’s 99 nuclear reactors have a vital role to play when it comes to powering our economy, protecting the environment and supporting our nation’s influence around the world.

"GNI’s recommendations reflect a common interest in finding policy solutions to help keep our plants running, advance new designs and promote the role our nuclear suppliers play in generating jobs at home while strengthening America’s hand in global governance in the face of challenges abroad. We look forward to continuing our work with GNI on these important issues as we chart the future of our industry.”

Kenneth Luongo, President of the Partnership for Global Security, said: “GNI has responded to the realities of the complex global environment where the linkages between critical issues including climate change, nuclear power and international security require new responses and innovative partnerships.

"Nuclear power has an important role to play in tackling climate change, but there are governance and geopolitical challenges that need to be addressed. The GNI report focuses attention on the nexus of these issues and provides an actionable agenda for progress that will benefit the global community.”

Richard Meserve, former Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a member of the GNI working group, said: “This report draws attention to nuclear power’s geopolitical dimension, which often is overlooked in the debate. The nuclear rules are shaped by the countries with the largest market share, and traditional leaders like the US will soon be overtaken by China and Russia. There is a danger that the U.S. will lose the capacity to influence the global norms for safety, security and non-proliferation. There thus are national security issues at stake.”

Armond Cohen, Executive Director of the Clean Air Task Force and a member of the GNI working group, said: “Nuclear energy has increasingly come forward as a climate change management tool as we realize how deep and fast carbon cuts need to happen. Nuclear can be part of a portfolio approach – along with renewables, carbon capture and sequestration and improvements in efficiency – that gives us multiple options to decarbonize the electricity sector and sustain economic growth.

"But developing nuclear energy at sufficient scale and speed will require both technical innovation and close cooperation among industry, international regulatory bodies, civil society and public and private investors. I look forward to the GNI’s involvement in that process in the months ahead.”

Recommendations

The report, “Nuclear Power for the Next Generation: Addressing Energy, Climate and Security Challenges,” addresses critical issues around climate policy, nuclear technology and global security. Its principal recommendations are:

  1. Nuclear power is necessary to address climate change
  2. Nuclear governance needs significant strengthening
  3. Evolving nuclear suppliers impact geopolitics
  4. Innovative nuclear policy requires “break the mold” partnerships.


Source: Company Press Release