Seize Nuclear or Miss Targets, Investment: IAEA


"[The IAEA] hiked its nuclear power projections for 2030 on Tuesday with Asian countries seen leading the way."

Some countries that fail to invest in nuclear power for political or financial reasons will be unlikely to meet emissions targets and could miss out on investment as companies build abroad, an IAEA expert said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which advises member states on developing atomic power safely while trying to curb proliferation risks, hiked its nuclear power projections for 2030 on Tuesday with Asian countries seen leading the way.

But countries such as Germany, with ambitious targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions and a powerful anti-nuclear lobby, need to take a serious look at their options, Hans-Holger Rogner at the Vienna-based U.N. agency told the Reuters Global Climate and Alternative Energy summit in an interview.

He said German center-left targets to generate large amounts of power from renewable sources were unrealistic. The Social Democrats (SPD) want 50% of Germany's power to come from renewables by 2030, the Greens target 40% by 2020.

"Just look at the lifespans involved. Look at infrastructure, housing, the transport sector, the way the country is being built up," said Rogner, who is a section head in the IAEA's nuclear energy department.

"You can of course calculate all kinds of things, like if everyone had their roof plastered with photovoltaic cells. But it still would mean a dramatic change in our lifestyles and I don't think that people are ready for it," he said.

The fate of Germany's 17 nuclear power plants, due to be shut down by the early 2020s, is one of the major issues dividing Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives from the SPD in the federal election set for September 27. It is not clear which technologies will be used to make up the supply gap.

Backers of nuclear power say it is a safe, reliable, low-emissions source which brings investment to communities, and that the industry has learned from disasters like the Chernobyl power station explosion and say waste can be safely stored.

Critics say atomic power is not "green" because the waste must be stored for hundreds of thousands of years. Investment in renewable energy and efficiency programs would allow countries to meet emissions targets without nuclear.

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