Nuclear energy, climate change and COP27

This section outlines how nuclear energy is helping reduce emissions today, and how it can contribute to a sustainable net zero emissions future.

It includes information on the COP27 climate change conference, which took place at Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, from 6-18 November 2022. 


Nuclear and the Sustainable Development Goals

Find out how nuclear technologies can contribution to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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World Nuclear Performance Report 2022

The World Nuclear Performance Report, released in July 2022, provides construction, generation and CO2 avoidance analysis.

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The Silent Giant: the need for nuclear in a clean energy system

In a world centred on short-term fixes, many of the traits that make nuclear energy a key player in the transition to a sustainable world are often taken for granted.

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Watch events held at COP27

Interviews and panel sessions are available to watch again.

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Nuclear energy’s contribution to climate change mitigation

This event provided an overview of the historic contribution of nuclear generation to supplying electricity and helping to lessen the impacts of climate change


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Financing new nuclear build

This event discussed the importance of having access to affordable finance in order to build new nuclear projects, and also discussed the different financing models which are being used to finance projects around the world.

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Interplay of Low Carbon Energy Systems

This event discussed the benefits and challenges of deploying a resilient low-carbon technology interplay, including financing mechanisms.

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Decarbonization beyond electricity

This session highlighted different applications beyond electricity generation to which nuclear technologies can be applied, including industrial applications in heavy industry and transportation.

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Policy measures to promote a clean energy future

There has been a wave of national initiatives in countries around the world to promote clean energy investment. National policies play a key role in influencing private sector investment decisions. This panel gave insights into recent policy decisions and their ramifications.

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Delivering employment and a just transition, how nuclear can make a contribution

Nuclear energy can bring many benefits to communities as they transition to a clean energy economy.  This session explored important questions around communities, employment and a just transition

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Experiences of women working in clean energy and how clean energy can empower women

Access to clean energy can empower women, and if the industry is going to grow to meet the increasing need for clean energy it must look to recruit a more diverse and representative workforce of all talents.

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Working together to deliver a clean energy mix

To achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement will require the full decarbonization of electricity by 2050. In this event, panelists discussed how the full range of clean energy options can work together to achieve net-zero.

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Creating Carbon Markets for a Net Zero Future

24/7 carbon-free energy (CFE) is an exciting new product that improves transparency in carbon-free energy transactions and creates crucial markets incentives to drive deep decarbonization.

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Achieving a clean energy mix: Role of new nuclear technologies

Today, there are several sectors which cannot simply be electrified – and which are therefore much harder to decarbonise. This panel focussed on different technologies under development which could provide solutions for these hard to decarbonise sectors.

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Meeting the energy challenge: nuclear's role in a sustainable and secure low-carbon future

The event explored how nuclear energy can contribute to a more affordable, secure and sustainable energy future.

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Beyond COP27 – nuclear’s contribution to sustainable development

As COP27 drew to a conclusion,Sama Bilibao y Leon interviewed a range of experts on progress made during the negotiations, and discussed how nuclear technologies contribute to achieving the UN SDGs,

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Further information


How can nuclear combat climate change?

To limit the impacts of climate change, the world must rapidly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Nuclear energy is low-carbon and can supply the world with clean, reliable, and affordable electricity. 

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Climate Change - The Science

Atmospheric concentrations of some of the gases that produce the greenhouse effect are increasing due to human activity and the vast majority of the world's climate scientists believe this causes global warming and resulting climate change.

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Policy Responses to Climate Change

Climate change is a worldwide problem and policy responses have accordingly had an international basis; the principal focus has been on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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World Nuclear News articles

The latest coverage of nuclear energy and climate change news.


WNN: UK must act on nuclear to meet net-zero aims, review finds (13 January 2023)

Investment in new nuclear is "a no-regrets option", according to an independent review of the UK government's approach to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Its report makes a number of recommendations for the government to meet its Net Zero Strategy, released in October 2021, in which new nuclear plays a significant part.


WNN: Clean energy industries well positioned for growth in West Virginia: Bill Gates (11 January 2023)

The Microsoft co-founder and chair of TerraPower voiced his support for nuclear during a visit to a closed-down coal-fired power plant in the state, but said any decisions on future Natrium plants will depend on the performance of a demonstration plant in Wyoming.


WNN: Holtec claims SMR-160 can repurpose any coal-fired plant (11 January 2023)

Holtec International has applied for a patent for multi-stage compressors that would enable any coal-fired plant to be repurposed by replacing its coal-fired boiler with clean steam from the SMR-160 small modular reactor.


WNN: North Carolina adopts 'all-of-the-above' carbon reduction plan (4 January 2023)

The initial carbon plan sets out a path to achieve a 70% reduction in CO2 emissions from publicly owned electric generating facilities by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050 via "reasonable steps" including licence extensions for nuclear power plants and the consideration of new nuclear capacity.


WNN: Japan adopts plan to maximise use of nuclear energy (23 December 2022)

The Japanese government has adopted a plan to extend the operation of existing nuclear power reactors and replace aging facilities with new advanced ones.


WNN: Viewpoint: Bilbao y León reflects on nuclear's presence at COP27 (29 November 2022)

Sharm El-Sheikh marked the first time the global nuclear community had a large pavilion in the Blue Zone, at the heart of COP27


Key publications from expert organizations

Find out more about what other organizations are saying about nuclear energy.

IEA Nuclear Power and Secure Energy Transitions

From Today’s Challenges to Tomorrow’s Clean Energy Systems

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UNECE Nuclear Power Technology Brief

The UNECE nuclear power technology brief highlights the need for nations who use nuclear power to work together beyond borders.

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Statements from World Nuclear Association

This section provides links to statements made by World Nuclear Association, either individually, or in partnership with other organizations on topics related to climate change


Joint statement: the critical role of nuclear energy within the current geopolitical context (16 Nov 2022)

A joint statement in support of the crucial role that nuclear energy needs to play in reshaping our energy paradigm and policies going forward.

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Response to the IPCC Working Group III AR6 report (4 April 2022)

The IPCC’s report makes it clear that nuclear energy has an important role to play now and in the long-term mitigation of climate change.

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Nuclear industry calls for successful conclusion to COP26 (10 Nov 2021)

World Nuclear Association Director General Sama Bilbao y León has called for more action, not more rhetoric, to come out of the ongoing COP26 climate change conference

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Reports and interviews

Updates and discussions from COP27

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Interview: Urenco, Net Zero and Sustainability

Urenco's Rob Little, Head Of Sustainability, and Chris Pye, Net Zero Programme Manager interviewed at COP27

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COP 27: Report Thursday 17 November 2022

Sama Bilbao y Leon looks back at what COP27 has achieved as it draws to a close.

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COP27 Report: Monday 14 November 2022

World Nuclear Association's Director General, Sama Bilbao y Leon reviews the first week at COP27 and looks forward to events in week 2.

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COP27 Report: Saturday 12 November 2022

On Agriculture Day, Henry Preston finds out how nuclear technology can help improve the sustainability and productivity of agriculture and therefore reduce carbon emissions.

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Highlights: Decarbonization beyond electricity

Key points from the discussion on how nuclear technologies can decarbonize sections beyojnd electricity, with Kirsty Gogan,TerraPraxis, Edward Stones, Dow and Alice Cunha da Silva at the #ATOMS4CLIMATE at COP27.

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COP27 Report: Wednesday 9 November 2022

Henry Preston reflects on events held at #ATOMS4CLIMATE on Youth and Science Day at COP27, He also discused the young nuclear volunteers here in Sharm El-Sheikh, nuclear techniques for securing water supplies and the UNFCCC sidebar on the interplay between different low carbon technologies. 

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