GLASGOW, Scotland: Even as environmentalists remain sceptical about nuclear power, Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he sees a key role to be played by nuclear power in balancing climate concerns and the world’s energy needs.
Grossi said he is noting particular interest among younger people who do not have the “cultural burden” that some older environmentalists have associated with nuclear power.
“Young generations want a clear, a clean world, but they don’t want a … pastoral world without, you know, the access to technology,” he told The Associated Press on Tuesday, on the sidelines of the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow.
One key advantage of nuclear power lies in the steady supply it provides, compared to the fluctuations from wind or solar power, he said.
“When you’re looking about your ideal energy mix, you need stability, you need baseload and you need the capacity to power your economy 24/7 without any interruption,” Grossi said.
Nuclear is also becoming more economically competitive again, he added, referring to rising energy prices currently seen in Europe, that have governments and consumers worried.
Future generations of small, modular reactors could further tilt the balance.
“There are four or five in construction in the world at the moment, in Russia and China and Argentina,” said Grossi. “Once they are there, I am sure.this will be a game changer. I think that we are not saying this is a panacea, but also be clear on this, but it is an indispensable element in the mix,” he added.