Nuclear4climate is a grass roots initiative created jointly by the French Nuclear Energy Society (SFEN), the American Nuclear Society (ANS) and ENS. With the United Nations COP 21 climate talks due to take place in Paris, in December this year, this initiative is very timely. It has brought together nuclear scientists from all corners of the globe. Their efforts to promote the environmental credentials of nuclear energy are coordinated by around 60 regional, and national nuclear associations, as well as by scientific societies.

Nuclear4climate reflects the concerns and supports the central conclusion drawn by the majority of climate experts, namely that human activity has contributed directly to climate change. This conclusion was unequivocally stated in the peer-reviewed 5th Assessment Report published by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The International Energy Agency (IEA) also recognized this fact in a report that it published in November 2014, in which it states that nuclear energy has avoided the equivalent of two years’ worth of CO2 emissions since 1971.

Nuclear scientists know this. But it is important that we pool our resources and amplify our voice so that decision-makers – before, during and after the COP 21 talks – are left in no doubt that nuclear is part of the solution to fight climate change. The main objectives of the initiative are to promote this reality, to reinforce the sense of pride that the nuclear community derives from knowing that it is contributing to the future of the planet, and to ensure that the final protocol that emerges from COP 21 emphasises that all countries are free to choose nuclear energy as one of the available options for reducing CO2 emissions

The Signing of the Nice Declaration on Nuclear

On May 4, 2015, 39 nuclear societies, representing 50,000 scientists from 36 countries on five continents, met in Nice, France, to sign a declaration representing their commitment to the fight against climate change. The declaration is a major component of the “Nuclear for Climate” global initiative launched in the summer of 2014 by the French Nuclear Society, the European Nuclear Society, and the American Nuclear Society. The international collaboration’s goal is to achieve recognition that nuclear power is a low-carbon energy that is a necessary part of the solution in fighting climate change.

The agreement was signed by the presidents or representatives from the participating organizations to declare, “…that we need to take immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions…and that we cannot wait for future technologies to be ready for deployment before launching our decarbonization efforts.” The signers stressed that each country needs access to the widest possible portfolio of low-carbon technologies available, including nuclear energy, in order to reduce CO2 emissions and meet other energy goals.