Engaging in dialogue and exchanging ideas on a global scale is essential to paving the way for co-ordinated action on limiting global warming. The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) participated in the 14th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM14) which took place in Goa, India, on 19-22 July to contribute to the discussions around the important role that nuclear energy could play in a global clean energy transition.
The four-day event convened senior government, international experts and energy leaders for high-level dialogues, Ministerial-CEO roundtables and technology showcases. The conference took place alongside the 8th Mission Innovation meeting and the G20 Energy Transition Ministerial Meeting. Overall, there were over 75 CEM14 side-events exploring topics such as clean power, clean transport and empowering society.
NEA analyst Lucas Mir participated in events organised by the ‘Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy Future’ (NICE Future). NICE Future is a CEM initiative created to lead the global conversation on the role that nuclear energy could play in the clean energy systems of the future.
NEA analyst Lucas Mir (centre) speaks on the CEM14 panel 'The Role of Nuclear Energy in the Clean Energy Workforce of the Future: Strategies & Solutions.'
Speaking on the panel ‘Role of Nuclear Energy in the Clean Energy Workforce of the Future: Strategies & Solutions,’ Mr Mir, who is the nuclear technology and economics lead on nuclear hydrogen at the NEA, discussed the topic of youth engagement with climate change. When asked how nuclear stakeholders can effectively communicate the value of nuclear energy to non-nuclear audiences, Mr Mir highlighted that NEA tools such as the new NEA SMR Dashboard: Volume II – launched during CEM14 – are helping to make data and analysis more accessible to energy and climate change policymakers and broader non-nuclear audiences, including the younger generation interested in viable energy solutions.
This panel discussion, which featured an opening keynote by Dr Kathryn Huff, Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), also explored the pivotal role that nuclear energy could play in the clean energy mix, and the nuclear sector’s impact on workforce development to ensure justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.
“The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe assesses a doubling of nuclear power by 2050 will be necessary for Europe. A skilled workforce and human resource development is going to be essential to meet these ambitious deployment targets,” said Dr Huff.
“Nuclear energy technologies require a highly skilled workforce and to achieve this workforce evolution, governments will need to monitor our workforce trends, to establish our understanding of pending gaps in that workforce. We need to invest in education at all levels and provide re-training to support and retain the current workforce. There is no more time to talk about strategies and solutions, it is time to mobilise them,” added Dr Huff.
Dr Kathryn Huff, Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, U.S. DOE, delivered a keynote during the panel highlighting the nuclear sector’s impact on workforce development to ensure justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.
Lucas Mir highlighted the NEA’s recent action on workforce development, focusing on the mission of the Task Force on Improving Gender Balance in the Nuclear Sector.
“The NEA task force developed a policy framework that aims to improve this issue of gender balance in the nuclear sector which was adopted in June by 41 countries. This policy framework is a real political commitment by governments to help improve gender equality within the nuclear workforce,” said Mr Mir.
“Not only is it the right thing to do, but it’s also the smart thing to do. The nuclear sector is facing an innovation challenge and we will need all of the brain power possible to solve this innovation challenge,” he added.
Mr Mir was joined on the panel by Etornam Horga Akaho (Ghana Atomic Energy Commission), Gunjan Indauliya ( SNC-Lavalin), Sneha Satish Hegde (Ecole Centrale de Lyon & IEEE) ; Annette Hollas (Natural Resources Canada), Pratik Lokhande (Generation Atomic) and Siddharth Yadav (Duke Energy, North American Young Generation in Nuclear). Sarah McPhee Charrez, Strategic Advisor at the Office of International Nuclear Energy Policy and Cooperation, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), moderated the panel.
Dr Kathryn Huff, Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, U.S. DOE and NEA analyst Lucas Mir hold a copy of the NEA SMR Dashboard: Vollume II.
The NEA were invited to participate in the youth fair ‘Youth RISE for NICE Future’ which fostered discussions and created networking opportunities to exchange on how the clean energy sector can better communicate with younger generations on the integration of nuclear and renewable energies. Engaging with the next generation is a key focus in the NEA’s activities, with regular international mentoring workshops and frequent interventions by the NEA Director-General William D. Magwood, IV at high schools and universities around the world.
The 15th Clean Energy Ministerial will be held in September, 2024 in Foz Do Iguaçu, Brazil.