UN climate change meet should consider role for nuclear power: IAEA head

United Nations, Nov 18 (IANS) The upcoming UN climate change conference should consider the role of nuclear of power in producing electricity with low environmental impact, according to Yukio Amano, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“Nuclear power has low environmental impact and leads to significant avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions,” he told the UN General Assembly Tuesday. “Appropriate consideration should be given to nuclear power in talks on climate change mitigation under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” starting month-end in Paris.

Regarding concerns over nuclear safety, Amano said, “The IAEA helps countries that choose to use nuclear power to do so safely, securely and sustainably.”

Unlike coal and other fossil fuels that are used for generating electricity, nuclear power does not produce greenhouse gases that are considered responsible for climate change.

“Many countries believe nuclear power can help them to address the twin challenges of ensuring reliable energy supplies while curbing greenhouse gas emissions,” Amano added.

The 441 nuclear power reactors in 30 countries produce 11 percent of the world’s electricity and 65 more are under construction mostly in Asia, he said.

To keep nuclear materials safe, Amano appealed for more countries to sigh to sign the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. (CPPNM) Signatures of 13 more countries are required for it to come into force.

“Entry into force of the amendment would reduce both the likelihood of terrorists being able to detonate a dirty bomb and the risk of a terrorist attack on a nuclear,” Amano said.

The amendment would legally require countries to protect nuclear facilities and material in peaceful domestic use, storage and transport. Countries would also have to cooperate quickly to locate and recover stolen or smuggled nuclear material and mitigate the results of sabotage. Currently CPPNM only applies to international transportation of nuclear material.

India ratified the amendment in 2007, while Pakistan has not.

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