U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm and International Atomic Energy Agency director general Rafael Mariano Grossi met in Vienna yesterday during the agency’s 65th General Conference to launch preparations for the next IAEA International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century, slated for October 26–28, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Originally meant to take place this year but postponed due to COVID, the fifth iteration of the conference will feature ministerial-level participants delivering statements on their national energy strategies and visions for nuclear energy, as well as on the challenges for introducing, maintaining, or expanding nuclear, according to the IAEA.
Also scheduled are panel discussions, covering topics such as the role of nuclear energy in the transition to net-zero energy systems; fostering policy support and stronger conditions for investment in nuclear; the role of government and the need for an appropriate infrastructure for new nuclear programs; sustaining and improving the performance of the existing reactor fleet in changing economic, climate, and political environments; and advanced nuclear technologies.
The ministerial conference is organized in partnership with the International Energy Agency and in cooperation with the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency. Previous editions were held in Paris (2005), Beijing (2009), St. Petersburg (2013), and Abu Dhabi (2017).
What they’re saying: “Nuclear is a key technology for [IAEA] member states as they aim to lower their emissions, grow their economies, and ultimately combat climate change in a truly sustainable way,” Granholm said. “It’s an incredible honor for the United States to be hosting the 2022 IAEA Nuclear Power Ministerial at such a pivotal time. The U.S. Department of Energy is committed to working with Director General Grossi and the IAEA to ensure a successful conference, and we strongly encourage all countries to send ministerial-level representatives to join us as we unlock the full potential of nuclear.”
Grossi noted, “This conference will come at a key time and with the stakes rising ever higher as the world searches for solutions to these challenges. In a little more than one month, the UN Climate Change Conference will kick off in Glasgow. The agency will be holding several events at COP26, and I will be personally traveling there to deliver the message that nuclear power is part of the solution to the climate crisis and needs a place at the negotiating table.”