The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has issued an announcement and call for papers for a Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power to be held in Vienna from 7 to 11 October 2019.  The IAEA says climate change is one of the most important issues the world is facing today.

"Nuclear power has considerable potential to meet the climate change challenge by providing electricity, district heating and high temperature heat for industrial processes, generated with almost zero greenhouse gas emissions.” The IAEA “has an important role in improving the understanding of the potential contribution of nuclear power by providing interested member states with guidance and assistance for deploying safe, secure and safeguarded nuclear technology and in formulating national energy strategies and policies”.  The conference “will provide a platform to discuss objectively the scientific and technical aspects of the role of nuclear power in combating climate change."

Topics covered will include: challenges and opportunities for existing nuclear power plants with respect to their continuous contribution to the avoidance of greenhouse gas  emissions; factors necessary to support high rates of deployment, including for advanced nuclear power technologies, consistent with achieving the climate change goals, including those established in the Paris Agreement; and the prospects for synergies between nuclear power and other low carbon energy sources.

The major thematic areas will comprise the mitigation challenge and implications for the power sector, including the role of nuclear power, stimulated by the engagement of member states and various international organisations to improve the understanding of the relationship between nuclear and climate. “The discussion will be guided by the following questions: ‘Where are we?’; ‘Where do we want to go?’; and ‘How do we get there?’. The broad themes will tackle the nuclear power interim and long-term contributions (at present, until 2030, and beyond 2030) targeting future innovative applications, opportunities to address common challenges, and strategic and cross-cutting issues relating to public perception, regulations, markets and finance.”

The meeting will provide an opportunity to discuss mainstreaming nuclear power as a low-carbon energy source and its role in combating climate change. It aims “to provide a forum for the exchange of information on the role of nuclear power, and on the opportunities and challenges of safe, secure and safeguarded nuclear technology development in supporting the low-carbon energy transformation needed to achieve the climate change goals”. The IAEA says it seeks to bring together member states, representatives of relevant low-carbon energy sectors, international organisations, and other parties.