Press release

MIT: nuclear energy is key to achieving decarbonisation targets

Sep 6, 2018

Without the contribution nuclear energy provides as a dispatchable and low carbon energy source, the overall cost of achieving deep decarbonisation targets will increase significantly, according to the latest study released this week by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Energy Initiative. Findings and recommendations from the study were presented during a dedicated event held in Brussels by FORATOM.

Entitled “The Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World”, the study examines how nuclear energy can answer current challenges which the world faces such as the urgent need to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the context of climate change and expanding access to energy and economic opportunities to billions of people. The study also covers several issues which have to be overcome in order to make nuclear energy the preferred option for countries willing to significantly limit their greenhouse gas emissions, of which costs and current policies are the most urgent ones.

“Incorporating new policy and business models, as well as innovations in construction that may make deployment of cost-effective nuclear power plants more affordable, could enable nuclear energy to help meet the growing global demand for energy generation while decreasing emissions to address climate change”, says study co-chair Jacopo Buongiorno, associate department head of the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT.

The importance of recognising nuclear energy for its benefits and introducing new policies which would allow all low-carbon technologies to compete on a level-playing field without jeopardising climate and energy targets is especially topical at EU level as the European Commission is currently working on a proposal for a strategy for long-term EU greenhouse gas emission reductions that will shape Europe’s policy for years to come.

“Before the EU decides which path should be selected to decarbonise its economy in line with the Paris Agreement, decision makers involved in this process should consider all available options and their potential impacts and then choose the most rational one”, says Yves Desbazeille, FORATOM Director General. “Nuclear energy contributes to all key objectives of EU energy policy: decarbonisation of the electricity sector, security of supply and competitive power prices. This MIT study proves that the deep decarbonisation of the world, including Europe, will be extremely difficult to achieve without the use of nuclear energy”.

The presentation of the study in Brussels, organised by FORATOM, gathered together stakeholders from various EU institutions, associations, NGOs, and many representatives from the nuclear industry. In addition to the study, invited speakers also discussed topics such as recent and ongoing EU initiatives linked to the EU climate strategy and nuclear-related research programmes undertaken by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.

The MIT study is available here.

About us: The European Atomic Forum (FORATOM) is the Brussels-based trade association for the nuclear energy industry in Europe. The membership of FORATOM is made up of 15 national nuclear associations and through these associations, FORATOM represents nearly 3,000 European companies working in the industry and supporting around 800,000 jobs.

For more information, please contact Witold Strzelecki:

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