Unlocking Nuclear Energy’s Potential in Addressing Climate Change

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March 29, 2024

Unlocking Nuclear Energy’s Potential in Addressing Climate Change


  • In recent times, there has been a resurgence of interest in nuclear energy as a viable solution to combat climate change. Despite significant challenges, advocates argue that nuclear power presents a clean and reliable source of electricity crucial for transitioning to a sustainable energy future. This article delves into the push for nuclear energy as a key component of the global clean energy transition, exploring recent developments, challenges, and the role it plays in climate change mitigation efforts.

The Nuclear Energy Summit:

  • Last week, Brussels hosted a landmark Nuclear Energy Summit, gathering representatives from 30 countries, including heads of state, to discuss the role of nuclear energy in the clean energy transition. Organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the summit aimed to build momentum for greater acceptance and utilization of nuclear power in addressing climate change and energy security concerns.

IAEA’s Initiatives and Advocacy:

  • The IAEA has been proactive in promoting nuclear energy as a clean alternative to fossil fuels, launching initiatives such as ‘Atoms4Climate’ and engaging with the climate community at international forums like the COPs. Efforts at COP conferences have resulted in commitments from multiple countries to triple global nuclear energy capacity by 2050, highlighting nuclear energy’s potential contribution to greenhouse gas emissions reduction.

Advantages of Nuclear Energy:

  • Nuclear energy offers several advantages, including minimal carbon footprint, perennial availability for baseload electricity generation, and significant contributions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Despite concerns about safety and cost, nuclear power’s low emissions profile positions it favorably in decarbonization pathways outlined by organizations like the IPCC.

Challenges and Poor Uptake:

  • Despite its advantages, nuclear energy has faced challenges in widespread adoption. Safety concerns, high costs, and lengthy construction times have deterred many countries from investing in nuclear power. The number of operational reactors has declined in recent years, and nuclear energy’s share in global electricity generation remains relatively low, less than 10%.

Global Efforts and Policy Shifts:

  • Recent years have seen a shift in attitudes towards nuclear energy, with increased visibility at international climate conferences and recognition as a low-emission technology essential for deep decarbonization. The tripling of global nuclear energy capacity by 2050 is an ambitious goal endorsed by multiple countries, signaling a growing recognition of nuclear energy’s role in combating climate change.

India’s Nuclear Energy Plans:

  • India, with its own nuclear energy program, acknowledges the importance of nuclear power in its decarbonization strategy. Despite ambitious expansion plans, nuclear energy’s share in India’s electricity generation remains modest. However, officials affirm India’s commitment to increasing nuclear power capacity and achieving long-term energy security through sustainable means.


  • The push for nuclear energy as a solution to climate change is gaining momentum globally, with increased recognition of its clean energy potential and contributions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While challenges persist, efforts to overcome barriers to nuclear adoption signify a growing realization of its importance in the transition to a sustainable energy future.

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Unlocking Nuclear Energy’s Potential in Addressing Climate Change | Vaid ICS Institute