27 Oct 2020, 13:24
Kerstine Appunn

Use nuclear to fight climate change, says IAEA - but Germany sticking to renewables


Countries should use nuclear energy because “every path to reaching the Paris Agreement’s two degree warming limit would be near on impossible without it”, Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said during a visit to Berlin. It was a legitimate political decision of Germany to phase out nuclear power by the end of 2022 but it was not “scientifically substantiated” when looking at climate change, he told news agency dpa. “The scientific fact is that nuclear power plants cause extremely low carbon dioxide emissions," he added.

In Berlin, Grossi also met with Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, a member of the Social Democratic Party and state secretary in Germany’s environment ministry, who told dpa that her ministry didn’t see how nuclear power could play a major role in global climate action. “From a global perspective, nuclear power – regardless of its many other disadvantages -- cannot make a significant contribution to climate action as it accounts for between 4 and 5 percent of global energy consumption.” The German government believes that climate action is best pursued by generating electricity from wind and solar PV, she added. “This is not only sustainable and harmless but it can also be constructed much faster and more efficiently,” Schwarzelühr-Sutter said. But every nation has to decide on its own energy mix, she added.

After decades of protests and a majority of citizens opposing nuclear energy, the German government decided in 2011 on a nuclear phase-out by the end of 2022 and has entered into a lengthy process of finding a permanent repository for the radioactive waste generated in the past 60 years.

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