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2018-11-14 11:50:00



WNN - Nuclear power has for the first time been included on the programme of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe's (UNECE's) Ministerial Conference of the International Forum of Energy for Sustainable Development. In its ninth year, the annual event is being held this week in Kiev.

In an interview with WNN during the conference, Foster said: "The challenges that we've seen since Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima is that the response has been more rebar, more concrete, more containment because they're concerned about risk. The origins of the risk have almost always been human and institutional, but the response has been technological. So, the consequence has been just rising costs, but not actually addressing the underlying risk.

"One of the issues we're trying to explore at this forum is can we revisit that equation. Is it possible to address the human and institutional risk factors without actually having the corresponding increase in the capital costs of nuclear [power]. Now, there are those who believe that the nuclear long-term waste issue is huge. I won't deny that. There are issues that nuclear has risks that other technologies don't have. I don't deny that. But we are facing a species existential threat in climate change and, at some point, you have to go, 'Excuse me, but which is the risk we think we can manage, and which is the risk that we can't?' I would suggest the fact that we are in the process of wiping out 50% of the species on this planet, probably including our own, might lead people to a different conclusion."

The UNECE region will play an important role in attaining the international energy and climate objectives that were agreed in 2015, notably the Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals and the agreement reached at the 21st COP meeting in Paris in 2015, referred to as the Paris Agreement. Energy underpins most of these goals, and the energy sector plays a critical role in finding solutions for both sustainable development and climate change mitigation.

Asked how challenging it is for him to include nuclear in discussions with other parts of the United Nations, Foster said: "Nuclear is not in my organisation's mandate per se, but we have organised this forum with explicit segments looking at the nuclear challenge. The International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna is the one best equipped to address nuclear topics, but we've got an ongoing Pathways project, which is exploring what are the strategic options countries have, given their own natural endowments of resources, given their own legislative history, etc. What's their best pathway to achieving the 2030 agenda? You can't have that conversation by excluding something you don't like. So, leave it [fossil fuels] in the ground, or no nuclear? It doesn't leave you with a lot of options."

He added: "Given that 80% of today's energy mix is fossil, it's improbable that we're going to be able to deal with a future that doesn't have fossil in it one way or another. So, what we want to do, in a transparent and fair way, is not pick the technology, not be for or against. I'm not pro-nuclear, but I'm not anti-nuclear. I'm not pro-renewables, but I'm not anti-renewables. The idea is you've got to be very neutral and sterile in your arguments and put them out and say, 'What's the most rational approach for us, collectively, to take in terms of economic, environmental and societal needs?' And that's where you'll get pragmatic and sensible outcomes."

Foster stressed the urgency of the climate change debate.

"We're on a path to 4-6 degrees and right now we're worried about a 1 degree increase in temperatures. The weather effects we're seeing now are the consequence of CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions that happened 20 years ago; there's a lag time that occurs. So, we're going to see all of the emissions that have occurred in the intervening years 20 years hence. Well, excuse me, that gets to be some very scary numbers that we've got to address quite quickly."

Vital role for nuclear

At the conference's plenary session, Agneta Rising, World Nuclear Association's director general, said nuclear generation helps ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. She told delegates that, by offering an alternative to fossil fuels that produce air pollution, nuclear energy helps ensure healthy lives.

"By allowing rapid decarbonisation of electricity, nuclear helps take urgent action on climate change. Nuclear desalination can provide clean water to help ensure access to water, and by supplying affordable, reliable 24/7 electricity, nuclear contributes to sustainable economic growth," she said.

"Substituting energy supplied by fossil fuels with electricity generated from nuclear energy and other low-carbon sources is a practical proposition to deliver a clean energy transition," she added.

In a statement today, World Nuclear Association noted that the number of influential bodies acknowledging the importance of nuclear energy in the climate and energy challenge is growing. In October the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported to the UN on the impacts of climate change and what would be needed to limit temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius. They concluded that achieving the 1.5 degrees goal will require global greenhouse gas emissions to start reducing almost immediately.

Nuclear generation increases by an average of around 2.5 times by 2050 in the 89 mitigation scenarios considered by the IPCC.

The Ninth International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development is co-organised by the government of Ukraine and the five United Nations Regional Commissions in partnership with: United Nations Development Programme; United Nations Industrial Development Organisation; United Nations Institute for Training and Research; UN Environment; The World Bank; International Energy Agency; International Renewable Energy Agency; International Atomic Energy Agency; Global Environment Facility; Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe; European Commission; International Energy Charter; International Energy Forum; the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency; International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis; Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental Safety, and Energy Technology; Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Dartmouth College; Climate Action Network; Oil and Gas Climate Initiative; and World Nuclear Association.

The Forum's goal is to provide a unique opportunity for policymakers and experts from various parts of the energy sector to reflect on the implications of the fast-paced energy transition that UNECE says has become the "new normal", review the activities to date and to make further progress towards meeting the sustainable development goals.

Established in 1947 to encourage economic cooperation among its member states, UNECE is one of five regional commissions under the administrative direction of United Nations headquarters.




2018, October, 10, 08:10:00


WNN - A large increase in the use of nuclear power would help keep global warming to below 1.5 degrees, according to a United Nations report published today. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report - Global Warming of 1.5 degrees - was commissioned by governments at the Paris climate talks in 2015 and will inform the COP24 summit in Katowice, Poland this December.


2018, September, 26, 09:35:00


OPEC - Total primary energy demand is expected to increase by 91 mboe/d between 2015 and 2040 to reach 365 mboe/d in 2040



2018, September, 17, 14:55:00


WNN - The future of nuclear energy depends on the industry’s readiness to address the seven factors influencing its prospects, the deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told delegates at the World Nuclear Association Symposium 2018 held in London last week.


2018, September, 13, 14:00:00


IAEA - Overall, the new projections suggest that nuclear power may struggle to maintain its current place in the world’s energy mix. In the low case to 2030, the projections show nuclear electricity generating capacity falling by more than 10% from a net installed capacity of 392 gigawatts (electrical) (GW(e)) at the end of 2017. In the high case, generating capacity increases 30% to 511 GW(e), a drop of 45 GW(e) from last year’s projection. Longer term, generating capacity declines to 2040 in the low case before rebounding to 2030 levels by mid-century, when nuclear is seen providing 2.8% of global generating capacity compared with 5.7% today.


2018, September, 10, 12:20:00


WNN - The electrification of transport could potentially offer many opportunities for nuclear generation, Brandon Munro told the World Nuclear Association Symposium 2018 in London.


2018, July, 23, 13:25:00


IEA - For the third consecutive year, global energy investment declined, to USD 1.8 trillion (United States dollars) in 2017 – a fall of 2% in real terms. The power generation sector accounted for most of this decline, due to fewer additions of coal, hydro and nuclear power capacity, which more than offset increased investment in solar photovoltaics.


2018, July, 4, 12:05:00


IEA - “Nuclear power is continuing to play an important role in electricity security along with other conventional generating technologies,” said IEA Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol in his opening remarks. “Despite this, with current policies there is little prospect for significant growth for nuclear power in developed economies on the horizon – although there are new efforts to spur innovations that could change this picture.”




2018, December, 14, 08:55:00


PLATTS - Renewables' share in Germany's power mix is set to reach 38% this year, ahead of the government's 2020 target of 35% but below-trajectory for 2030's 65% target, utility lobby group BDEW said Thursday.

2018, December, 14, 08:50:00


EBRD - the Bank will no longer finance thermal coal mining or coal-fired electricity generation. The Bank will also stop funding any upstream oil exploration, and will not finance upstream oil development projects except in rare and exceptional circumstances, where such investments reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

2018, December, 14, 08:45:00


IMF - The Malaysian economy has shown resilience. Real GDP growth is projected at 4.7 percent for 2018, underpinned by domestic demand.

2018, December, 14, 08:40:00


IMF - Bolivia's real GDP growth is projected at 4.5 percent in 2018, one of the highest rates in the region. Growth is supported by continued accommodative policies, a second economy-wide wage bonus, and strong agriculture output.

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