The IAEA’s International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century opened today in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, with around 700 participants from 67 IAEA Member States and five international organizations set to explore the role of low-carbon nuclear power in the world’s future energy mix.
“All countries – both developed and developing – need to secure sufficient energy to drive economic growth and counter climate change,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in remarks opening the conference, which runs through 1 November. “However, more use of nuclear power will be needed to provide the steady supply of baseload electricity to power modern economies if countries are to meet the goals for greenhouse gas emissions which they set for themselves in the Paris Agreement.”
The conference will provide a forum for high-level dialogue on the role of nuclear power in meeting future energy demand, contributing to sustainable development and mitigating climate change. Nuclear power emits virtually no greenhouse gases during operation. It produces 11 percent of the world’s electricity, which amounts to one-third of all electricity generated from low-carbon sources.
The conference is the fourth such ministerial-level event following previous gatherings in Paris in 2005, Beijing in 2009 and St. Petersburg in 2013. Organized in cooperation with the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the conference is hosted by the UAE Government through the Ministry of Energy and the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation.
“International co-operation can no doubt ease the path forward toward a clean, affordable and secured energy by addressing collectively the major technical, economic and political challenges with a focus on both today and the future,” NEA Director-General William Magwood, IV said.
Participants will exchange views on key issues related to the development and deployment of nuclear power. Thirty countries currently operate nuclear power plants and around 30 others are considering or preparing to introduce nuclear power. Fifty-seven power reactors are under construction around the world, with the UAE in the process of building its first four.
Throughout the conference, ministers and senior officials from IAEA Member States will engage in discussions on issues including their countries’ energy strategy and vision for the role of nuclear power and challenges to its introduction, continued operation and expansion. In addition, four panel sessions with selected speakers from diverse backgrounds will discuss nuclear power and sustainable development; challenges to nuclear-power infrastructure development; nuclear safety and reliability; and innovations and advanced nuclear technologies.
H.E. Mr Hamad Alkaabi, UAE Permanent Representative to the IAEA and conference president, will deliver concluding remarks on the last day of the conference summarizing its conclusions.
“The UAE is very pleased to host this important event, providing an important platform to discuss current and future trends of nuclear power and its vital role in sustainable development and climate change mitigation efforts,” Alkaabi said at the opening session. “The UAE has a strong commitment to clean energy, where nuclear, solar and other clean sources will play an important role in our nation’s future energy mix — this makes Abu Dhabi a perfect place for this conference.”