The World Nuclear Association has issued a white paper advising the world’s policymakers and regulators to adopt a science-based, all-hazards risk assessment and management system that holistically evaluates the contributions of different energy sources and sets a level playing field.
The paper, Recalibrating Risk: Putting Nuclear Risk in Context and Perspective, states that disproportionately focusing on the risks posed by radiation can result in the acceptance of other, more significant risks. For example, the WNA says, while air pollution from heavy fossil fuel use worldwide has caused the early demise of millions, severely damaged the environment, and exacerbated climate change, nuclear power is routinely ostracized and its substantial contributions to global decarbonization disregarded.
Follow the science: “Nuclear technologies can contribute enormously toward tackling two of the biggest challenges facing the world today—the decarbonization of the global economy and fulfilling the [United Nations’] sustainable development goals for everyone—but are being held back because of the many misconceptions about nuclear energy,” said WNA Director General Sama Bilbao y León. “Indeed, as recently highlighted by the International Energy Agency in its net-zero report, nuclear energy is a crucial component in ensuring the deep decarbonization needed to meet the 1.5°C target. To fully unlock the potential of nuclear power, a global paradigm shift is needed—one that is led by scientific evidence and evaluates the risks associated to all economic activities holistically, without overemphasizing one kind of risk over another.”