The heads of the International Atomic Energy Agency and more than a dozen industry leading firms are going to work more closely together on promoting the role of nuclear technology in dealing with major global challenges.
Those challenges include climate change, disease, hunger and more. Lofty goals, for certain, but the newly formed Group of Vienna believe that their industry is key to helping solve pressing issues worldwide.
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi helped guide formation of the so-called Group of Vienna, which includes his agency’s chief executives and top leaders from 13 companies and utilizes in U.S., China, Russia, South America and Europe. They met in Vienna during the latest IAEA general conference.
The Group of Vienna’s joint statement notes that carbon-free nuclear generation and technologies make a “vital contribution” to addressing climate change, poverty and human health.
“Energy is a key enabler of sustainable development and nuclear power provides clean, reliable, safe and sustainable energy, thereby helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enabling the achievement of internationally agreed climate goals, and supporting other important environmental objectives,” reads the joint statement. “Other nuclear technologies and techniques play important roles in supporting social and economic objectives, for example, by diagnosing and treating cancer and by improving food production.”
In addition to IAEA executives, the Group of Vienna includes founding members from China National Nuclear Corp., EDF, Eletronuclear, NA Kazatomprom, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Nucleoelectrica Argentina, NuScale Power, Rolls Royce SMR, ROSATOM, SNC-Lavalin Group, Urenco and Westinghouse Electric Co.
The high-level panel resolves to meet regulatory to discuss the latest developments in the nuclear field and how those contributions can factor into global challenges. In recent years, many political leaders have embraced nuclear power as a key component in future decarbonization efforts.
New projects are either under construction or have been completed in the Middle East, China, India, U.S. and United Kingdom. Nuclear energy accounts of about 10 percent of the global electricity mix, but double that percentage in the U.S.
Some nuclear technologies also are instrumental in medical treatments for cancer.
Nearly 650,000 metric tons of uranium reserves worldwide are considered recoverable at viably economic levels, according to reports. The average conventional 3-GW nuclear reactor core may consume about 250 metric tons per year, some industry sites estimate.
New-build projects are extremely expensive to complete, such as the $27 billion Vogtle Unit 3-4 expansion in Georgia and the Hinkley Point C in the UK.