Disappointing low profile for nuclear at UN Climate Summit says Tim Yeo

Arriving in Paris yesterday for the UN Climate Summit I feared that intrusive but necessary security measures would make access to the Le Bourget complex tediously slow. In the event the short queues and well-staffed check points were a pleasant surprise.

Inside, however, disappointment emerged in the form of the relatively low profile of nuclear power. Few people were even recognising publicly the crucial role of nuclear in tackling climate change, let alone talking it up. Only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of fringe events taking place in the margins of the main discussions this week and next had nuclear power anywhere on their agenda.

In the sprawling exhibition tent only one small stand representing Nuclear for Climate extolled the benefits of nuclear. Standing beside it Foratom’s Communications Director, M Damien Harcourt, cut a lonely figure as he spoke up manfully on behalf of the nuclear industry.

There’s a lesson here for us. Proponents of nuclear power need to get out more and make the case for it more proactively. As I headed off to an International Energy Agency meeting I reflected that what I’d seen further underlined the importance of the work of NNWE.