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American Nuclear Society; COP26 Must Recognize the Role of Nuclear Energy in Addressing the Climate Crisis

Dan Yurman's picture
Editor & Publisher, NeutronBytes, a blog about nuclear energy

Publisher of NeutronBytes, a blog about nuclear energy online since 2007.  Consultant and project manager for technology innovation processes and new product / program development for commercial...

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  • Nov 2, 2021
  • American Nuclear Society; COP26 Needs to Recognize the Role of Nuclear Energy in Addressing the Climate Crisis
  • ANS Publishes Revised Position Statement on Nuclear Power Safety

American Nuclear Society; COP26 Needs to Recognize the Role of Nuclear Energy in Addressing the Climate Crisis


(Press Release) On behalf of over 10,000 nuclear engineers, scientists, and technologists, the American Nuclear Society urges COP 26 delegates to insist that any agreement arising from COP26 include a strong role for nuclear technology in achieving carbon reduction targets.

Deep decarbonization and electrification of the global economy will require the increased availability of firm, “dispatchable” zero-carbon energy technologies. Nuclear energy is the only energy source with a proven track record of producing firm, zero-carbon energy at the scale needed to meet global goals.

Indeed, it’s increasingly clear that achieving net-zero worldwide carbon emissions is simply not feasible without a significant expansion of carbon-free nuclear energy worldwide.

Specifically, we urge the delegates to assume that a significant commercial deployment of new reactor designs and advanced nuclear fuel will occur in the 2030 timeframe and to acknowledge that such a scale-up will require a significant investment in research and development funding for advanced nuclear technologies.

Deep decarbonization requires action in all sectors of the world economy, not just electricity generation. As such, we urge delegates to recognize the inherent advantages of employing nuclear technology for industrial process heat, hydrogen production, district heating, and desalination.

To achieve decarbonization as rapidly and efficiently as possible, governments and policymakers must implement technology-neutral, performance-based climate and energy policies that treat all carbon-free energy sources fairly and equally.

Nuclear must be treated on a level playing field with other clean energy technologies. Delegates should not accept anything short of fair and equal treatment for nuclear energy vis-a-vis other zero-carbon sources, as doing so would be fundamentally incompatible with global progress on climate, economic prosperity and energy security.

As a recognized civil society organization with UN observer status, ANS will be on the ground in Glasgow during COP26 where we are sponsoring ten delegates from the UK Young Generation Network.

ANS NIYGNAs representatives of ANS, the pro-nuclear delegates will be attending events in the exclusive bluezone during the next two weeks.

ANS’s social media channels (@ans_org) will be resharing photos, videos, and observations from our COP26 delegates who hail from Germany, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

ANS is also taking our message directly to COP26 attendees by participating in Nuclear For Climate’s booth where ANS’s logo and images will be on display.

Our message at COP26 is clear: Carbon-free nuclear energy must be a part of our climate solution and the time to act is now. Six years on from the Paris Agreement, our world leaders need to get serious about climate change and that starts by preserving and expanding nuclear energy.

The press statement references the leadership of ANS.

  • Craig H. Piercy, Executive Director and CEO of the American Nuclear Society
  • Steven P. Nesbit, President of the American Nuclear Society

ANS Publishes Revised Position Statement on Nuclear Power Safety

164-1648099_radiation-png-radiation-symbol-transparent-png(Press Release) Commercial nuclear power has accumulated nearly 75 years and 19,000 reactor-years of operating experience around the globe. In that time, nuclear professionals “have developed a proven and effective state-of-the art approach to safety that is a model in any industrial setting, including in the development of next-generation nuclear technology,” states the American Nuclear Society’s Position Statement #51: Safety of Nuclear Power.

The Board of Directors approved the revised position statement in October 2021, and it has just been published on the ANS website, replacing a position statement published in 2007.

Risks and benefits: In the new statement, ANS emphasizes that the history of nuclear power operations demonstrates that nuclear power is a safe and clean energy source: “When compared with generally accepted risks posed by other energy industries, the risk from nuclear power is low. Furthermore, use of nuclear power has saved and continues to save lives through avoided emissions. Decisions concerning the use of nuclear energy should appropriately balance risks and benefits, and regulators should adopt a holistic approach to regulation that aligns how we treat risk across various hazards.”

Essential attributes: Position Statement #51 calls out 12 essential attributes of the nuclear community’s industry-leading level of safety:

  • Well-staffed, well-funded safety regulatory authorities that are responsible for independently ensuring operational safety and protection of the environment by utilizing performance-based goals and risk insights derived from analysis and experience.
  • A robust design that uses consensus-based codes and standards and embodies margins, qualified materials, and sufficiently redundant and diverse safety systems.
  • Construction and testing in accordance with the applicable design specifications and safety analyses.
  • A comprehensive organizational safety culture.
  • Qualified operational and maintenance personnel who have a profound respect for the reactor core, radioactive materials, and any supporting systems.
  • Technical requirements that define and control the appropriate boundaries for safe operations.
  • A strong engineering function that provides support to operations and maintenance.
  • Adherence to a risk-informed, performance-based, defense-in-depth safety philosophy that maintains adequate barriers, both physical and procedural, to protect people and the environment.
  • Effective quality assurance practices.
  • Emergency plans protecting both on-site workers and off-site populations.
  • Access to a continuous program of nuclear safety research.
  • A strong and fiscally sound management organization.

Ongoing innovation: “Our regulators and operators, and the industry as a whole, continuously improve to ensure that nuclear energy remains an important contributor to our clean energy portfolio,” ANS asserts. “The tradition of safe operations includes ongoing innovation and anticipation of changing environments.”

That includes new reactor designs being developed and evaluated. As stated in Position Statement #51, “New reactor designs incorporate inherently safe design features while offering flexible operations, maintenance, and surveillance. A risk-informed and performance-based framework for design and regulation enables designs for advanced reactors that streamline fabrication, installation, maintenance, and testing of safety-related systems and components.”

Background: ANS provides statements that reflect the Society’s perspective on issues of public interest that involve nuclear science and technology. Position statements are prepared by key members with relevant experience and are reviewed by ANS committees and professional divisions before the final position statements are presented to the Board of Directors for approval.

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