World Nuclear Association chief: Industry ready to mitigate climate change

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During the New York Times' Energy for Tomorrow side event during the Paris Climate Change Conference, which ended late last week, Agneta Rising, director general of the World Nuclear Association (WNA), talked about the nuclear industry and its readiness to serve energy goals.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said that to meet global temperature goals set by international groups -- to keep global temperature rises below two degrees Celsius -- global energy generation will need to shift to low-carbon and non-emitting sources of generation. The WNA said nuclear energy is ready to help with climate-change mitigation.

"The nuclear industry stands ready to deliver more to help tackle climate change,” Rising said. “Nuclear generation could provide 25 percent of the world's electricity with low-carbon generation by having 1,000 gigawatts of new build by 2050."

Rising also said there are currently 65 nuclear plants under construction worldwide, but said this would not be sufficient to meet the 18 percent of global energy-generation share needed to facilitate IEA’s goals.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said during the event that for nuclear to be considered, the right investment climates need to be developed to facilitate the financing necessary to increase nuclear capacity. In the U.S., there are plants that have either shut down prematurely or are at risk of shutting down prior to the end of their respective operational licenses.

Rising also said that support for existing and new technologies would be required by the international community.

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