Rafael Grossi said new nuclear technologies could be ideal for emerging economies.
Nuclear power is playing an important role in the world’s production of clean energy, “contributing massively” to avoiding greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in many countries and providing innovative solutions that could be very useful to emerging economies, International atomic Energy Agency director-general Rafael Mariano Grossi said during a panel discussion on electricity security and sustainability at the International Energy Agency’s Clean Energy Transitions Summit.
The virtual event brought together ministers and senior figures from around the world to discuss “measures to boost economies, create jobs, reduce global emissions and make energy systems more resilient” amid the economic slowdown during the global pandemic, according to the Paris-based IEA.
“Nuclear power has a great deal to contribute as part of clean, resilient, inclusive energy systems, which are of course indispensable drivers of economic development, especially at this hard time of pandemic recession all over the world,” Mr Grossi said.
“Nuclear energy is not a promise in terms of low-carbon energy, it is already now today contributing massively to a low carbon economy and a green grid” by avoiding the equivalent of 55 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over the last 50 years, he added.
Mr Grossi emphasised that nuclear power helps to provide stability to electrical grids, particularly those with high shares of variable renewable sources that depend on sunshine or wind. He noted that nuclear power plants can operate flexibly by following demand and limiting the impact of seasonal fluctuations in renewable output and can also bolster energy security by lessening reliance on imported fuels.
“Nuclear energy is at the forefront, at the vanguard, with development of solutions like small and medium sized reactors, which will be very useful for evolving, emerging economies in the near future,” he said. Nuclear power can also contribute to the future production of hydrogen without GHG emissions, for use in energy storage, transportation, industry and other applications, he added.