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US and 19 Others Call for Tripling World Nuclear Energy by 2050

Over 20 countries have unanimously called for the tripling of world nuclear energy at the United Nations climate talks, in a quest to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. 

The US, South Korea, Ghana and the UAE are a few of the 20 countries that have endorsed initiating the goal of “carbon neutrality.”

Iran however, has not probed for the tripling of nuclear energy despite decades of accusations by the West for producing nuclear weapons. 

In a statement earlier this year, Iran’s Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei debunked the myth of a presence of nuclear weapons in the country by stating “We believe nuclear weapons are used to commit mass destruction. We strongly oppose mass destruction. It violates religion, and it is contradictory to Islam. That includes any type of WMD: atomic, chemical, or any other possible types.” 

He further added “ We are not pursuing nuclear weapons due to our Islamic principles. Otherwise, if we had wished to pursue them, no one would have been able to stop us, just as they haven’t been able to stop our nuclear development up until now and won’t be able to do so in the future.”

A declaration endorsed by nations ranging from South Korea to the United States to Ghana and several European countries said nuclear energy plays a “key role” in reaching the goal of carbon neutrality.

However, the decision is deemed controversial precisely because of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear crisis in 2011. Environmental groups are particularly concerned about the safety and the disposal of nuclear waste.

“We are not making the argument to anybody that this is absolutely going to be a sweeping alternative to every other energy source,” U.S. President Joe Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, said at the COP28 conference in Dubai.

“But we know because the science and the reality of facts and evidence tell us that you can’t get to net zero [by] 2050 without some nuclear [power],” he said.

“These are just scientific realities. No politics involved in this, no ideology involved in this.”

They plan on targeting to triple nuclear energy capacity by 2050 from 2020 levels.

Britain, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Hungary, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Ukraine were the other nations that signed up to triple nuclear energy.

Japanese campaigner Masayoshi Iyoda said that Japan needed to “stop using the climate crisis to justify its addiction to nuclear energy while it allows carbon-intensive industries to prolong fossil projects.”

Earlier this year, the Japanese government passed a bill to permit nuclear reactors in the country to operate“ beyond the current limit of 60 years and expects about 20% to 22% of its energy to come from nuclear energy by fiscal 2030.” 

Despite the  Fukushima disaster, the country continues to endorse nuclear energy.

The Fukushima accident was known to be the second worst nuclear accident in the history of nuclear power energy, which saw a drastic increase of radiation levels in food, water and the ocean life near the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The radiation exposure led to the forced evacuation of around 150,000 people and multiple leaks were reported from the facility. In 2013, one of the leaks was labeled as a level-3 nuclear incident.

In 2018, one of the workers designated to measure radiation at the plant died of lung cancer caused by radiation exposure. Over 2,000 disaster-related deaths were also reportedly caused by suicide, stress, and a lack of adequate medical care.

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