Nuclear Power Can Play Significant Role In Mitigating Climate Change: IAEA Chief

Nuclear power is one of the lowest-carbon technologies available to generate electricity, and it can play a significant role in mitigating climate change, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in Paris Wednesday.

During his two-day visit to France, Amano met with French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Laurent Fabius, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Ségolène Royal and other government officials and representatives of the nuclear industry.

"Climate change is the biggest environmental challenge of our time," Amano told the ministers. "As governments around the world prepare to negotiate a legally binding, universal agreement on climate at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris at the end of the year, it is important that the contributions that nuclear science and technology can make to combating climate change are recognized," he noted.

The use of nuclear power has already prevented the release of around 56 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide since 1971, equivalent to two years of global emissions at current rates, according to World Energy Outlook statistics, published by the Paris-based International Energy Agency.

Amano and French officials also discussed changes in nuclear energy policy throughout the world following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan in 2011.

"It is the sovereign decision of each country whether or not to add nuclear power to its energy mix," Amano said. "For countries that choose nuclear power, our job is to help them to use nuclear technology in a safe, secure and environmentally friendly manner," he added.

Amano and his French hosts also discussed the status of the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, and the implementation of IAEA safeguards in Iran.

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