September 16, 2019
 In The Role of Nuclear Energy in Reducing Fossil Fuel Reliance

Country: United Kingdom
Delegate Name: Krishna Mano

United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency
The Role of Nuclear Energy in Reducing Fossil Fuel Reliance
United Kingdom
Krishna Mano
City High Middle School

Although methods to obtain nuclear energy are still being continuously researched to improve the safety of these processes, they have proven to play an instrumental role in reducing international reliance and dependence on fossil fuels. As reported by the United Nations, nuclear reactors are becoming an increasingly common source of energy with “32 countries worldwide operating 443 nuclear reactors for electricity generation and 55 new nuclear plants under construction”. Furthermore, a report from the International Trade Administration finds that, currently, “the United Kingdom has 15 operational nuclear reactors operating, which comprise just less than 20% of the United Kingdom’s electricity.” Nuclear energy provides an efficient procedure to make the global transition from fossil fuel-based energy to more renewable sources. The United Kingdom strongly affirms the importance, if not necessity, of nuclear energy during this transition period over the next few decades while acknowledging that the safety standards of current nuclear energy sources must be revised and rewritten. We also urge our fellow members of the IAEA to join this standpoint, support the use of nuclear energy to reduce fossil fuel reliance overtime, and recognize the importance of revising standards and guidelines in the status quo to make the process of creating nuclear energy much more safer.

As a leading member of many multilateral alliances like the UN and NATO, the United Kingdom finds it essential to maintain our own standards to continue the safe and reliable use of nuclear energy while transitioning towards renewable forms of energy while helping our neighboring countries set up similar guidelines and procedures as well. We have taken it into our own hands to further such policies on this subject of great importance in many ways. Before taking action, we reviewed the statistics from our top national energy analysts and received advice from our fellow nations who are members of the IAEA. In association with the Government of the United Kingdom, the London School of Economics and Political Science found in a 2022 report that “Nuclear power has a minimal carbon footprint of around 15–50 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour (gCO2/KWh). In comparison, the average footprint of a gas-powered generator is around 450 gCO2/KWh and for coal it is around 1,050 gCO2/KWh.” On a national level, as our 2023 Government Policy Paper on Advanced Nuclear Technologies states, “The UK’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and the 2020 Energy White Paper confirmed the government’s commitment to developing large, small, and advanced nuclear projects. More recently, the Net Zero Strategy reinforced the importance of nuclear in the UK’s energy mix as we transition to net zero.” Furthermore, a document outlining the history of the United States’ Atomic Energy Commission outlines multiple instances in which the US and UK have joined forces along with many other nations to address the importance of using nuclear energy during the process of decreasing global reliance on fossil fuels. We continue to strongly agree with these experts and have clearly portrayed this stance through our actions.

Despite all of these efforts, however, the United Kingdom is aware that the current measures in both our own country and other member nations of the IAEA are a mere step in the right direction; there is still so much more work to be done. While the occurrences of such accidents have reduced in recent years, we believe that there is more work to be done to ensure that the UK is able to effectively protect both our allies who rely on us for security and ourselves by setting the correct example with proper regulations. Most importantly, we seek a solution that re-evaluates current safety guidelines for sources of nuclear energy and puts the safety of our citizens and our allies above all else.