High-level talks in Brussels drive nuclear energy discussion

The inaugural Nuclear Energy Summit commenced today, drawing together a consortium of global leaders to deliberate on the pivotal role of nuclear power in propelling sustainable development. Chaired jointly by Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, the summit represents a watershed moment, marking the highest-level gathering exclusively dedicated to nuclear energy to date.

High-level talks in Brussels drive nuclear energy discussion

This momentous event follows the groundbreaking endorsement of nuclear energy’s inclusion in the Global Stocktake during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai in December 2023, underscoring the urgent need to accelerate its deployment alongside other low-carbon energy sources. Director General Grossi articulated the significance of the summit, stating, “This historic summit will build on the momentum of COP28 where the world finally agreed it must invest in nuclear energy to meet its climate goals. Now is the time for action, for laying out the concrete steps that will make the investment happen.”

Distinguished leaders from a diverse array of nations, including Armenia, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden, are slated to address the gathering. Additionally, high-level representatives from countries spanning Argentina to the United States will offer their national perspectives on the nuclear energy discourse.

In a symbolic prelude to the summit, Prime Minister De Croo and Mr. Grossi engaged in an evening debate yesterday with over 70 young science communicators at Brussels’ iconic Atomium, highlighting the inclusive and forward-looking nature of the event. The summit’s agenda kicked off with opening addresses by the co-hosts, followed by the adoption of a seminal declaration delineating the shared vision for nuclear energy’s role in addressing global challenges. Subsequently, heads of state delivered their remarks, paving the way for a comprehensive array of national statements.

The afternoon session features technical panel discussions elucidating the practical steps necessary to fully harness nuclear energy’s potential. Topics encompass the myriad factors influencing deployment, including global, regional, and national perspectives, technological innovations, and crucially, financial considerations.

Director General Grossi emphasized the importance of fostering a level financial playing field to facilitate progress in nuclear energy initiatives, advocating for equitable support akin to that extended to alternative energy sources by both national and international institutions. As the summit unfolds in Brussels today, expectations run high for substantive dialogue and tangible commitments aimed at advancing nuclear energy as a cornerstone of sustainable development in the 21st century.