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First-ever Nuclear Energy Summit

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 Source: IAEA

 

Context: World leaders from over 30 countries (including India) and the EU convened at the recently inaugurated Nuclear Energy Summit in Brussels, emphasizing nuclear power’s role in achieving energy security, climate goals, and sustainable development.

 

Key Takeaways from the Nuclear Energy Summit:

  1. Promotion of Nuclear Energy: The summit aimed to promote nuclear energy as a vital component of achieving low-carbon electricity production.
  2. Historic Inclusion in Global Stocktake: Following its inclusion in the Global Stocktake at COP28 in 2023, nuclear energy’s deployment was emphasized for accelerating its role in combating climate change.
    1. The Global Stocktake monitors the Paris Agreement’s (2014) progress and links national contributions to its goals. Its aim is to enhance climate ambition by evaluating collective efforts.
    2. Currently, nuclear energy is responsible for around 25 % of global low-carbon electricity production
  3. Atoms4NetZero Initiative: The Summit collaborates with IAEA’s ‘Atoms4NetZero’ program, aimed at supporting Member States’ efforts to utilize nuclear energy in achieving net zero emissions.
  4. Technological Advancements: Advances such as Fusion Energy, and Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), with capacities of up to 300 MW(e) per unit, were highlighted as promising developments in nuclear technology.
  5. Challenges: Safety concerns post-Fukushima, vulnerability to cyber-attacks, and high upfront costs were acknowledged as challenges that need to be addressed for the wider adoption of nuclear energy.
  6. IAEA’s Role: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as the organizer, underscored its role in promoting safe, secure, and peaceful nuclear technologies worldwide.

 

Status of Nuclear Energy in India:

 

Nuclear energy contributes about 3% to India's electricity generation, with 23 reactors in operation, producing 7480 MW. There are at least ten more reactors that are under construction, and the capacity is supposed to triple to 22,480 MW by 2031-32.   Most reactors are Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs). India's first 700 MWe PHWR unit, the Kakrapar Atomic Power Project (KAPP-3), started in 2021. The government plans to establish new plants like the one in Gorakhpur, Haryana. India is developing "Bhavni," its first indigenous thorium-based nuclear plant, utilizing Uranium-233. The experimental thorium plant "Kamini" is already operational in Kalpakkam

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About IAEA (founded: 1957; HQ: Vienna, Austria)

 

The IAEA promotes safe and peaceful nuclear technologies worldwide. It operates under the UN system and oversees nuclear inspections under the NPT. The Additional Protocol allows it to verify peaceful nuclear material use. India is a member.

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