Response from World Nuclear Association to the release of the IPCC Working Group III report, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of climate change

Issued 4 April 2022

The latest report from IPCC Working Group III highlights the importance of taking urgent action, not only to maximise possible emission mitigation in the current decade, but also to set in place the actions that will be needed to achieve deep decarbonization in the longer term.

This report corroborates the conclusions of the recently released IPCC Working Group II report on Adaptation which warned that there is a rapidly narrowing window of opportunity to enable climate resilient development.

Sama Bilbao y León, Director General of World Nuclear Association said,

The IPCC’s report makes it clear that nuclear energy has an important role to play now and in the long-term mitigation of climate change.

The following three actions are urgently required to maximize that contribution.

Maximise the mitigation potential of existing nuclear reactors. Extending the operation of existing reactors is one of the lowest-cost options available for producing additional low-carbon electricity.

Take urgent action to enable a significant acceleration in the deployment of new nuclear power plants, by providing access to financing, and streamlining licensing and regulatory processes. These new plants would help deliver a clean, affordable and reliable electricity mix for a long-term sustainable future.

Invest in the development of new nuclear technologies that can secure the reliability of future electricity systems with higher shares of intermittent generation, provide high temperature heat to help decarbonize the industrial sector, provide low-carbon district heating, and enable the clean production of hydrogen at scale."

According to the IPCC report a “broad-based approach to deploying energy sector mitigation options can reduce emissions over the next ten years and set the stage for still deeper reductions beyond 2030.”

The report also identifies that “when switching to low-carbon energy sources – renewable sources, nuclear power, and fossil or bioenergy with CCS – electricity is expected to become a more pervasive energy carrier.”

In 2019, according to the IPCC, nuclear generation supplied 10% of the world’s electricity, more than solar and wind combined.