NuScale – a Corvallis-based company – took part in this year’s U.N. Climate Change conference, COP23. The company had the opportunity to be a part of the Trump Administration panel discussing the roles of fossil fuels and nuclear power in regards to combating climate change. The company also worked with the Obama administration on related issues.
As part of COP23, Lenka Kollar, the director of business strategy at NuScale, explained that renewables were not enough to keep global-temperature rise under two degrees Celsius, and that nuclear power, along with carbon-capture technologies, was also necessary.
According to Kollar, the benefit of nuclear power is its low carbon footprint, even when compared to both solar and wind energy. She did not, however, discuss the environmental and health impacts of dealing with nuclear waste, an inevitable byproduct of relying on this type of energy source.
A meta-analysis conducted in 2008 by Benjamin K. Sovacool of the National University of Singapore, found that carbon-footprint estimates of nuclear energy changed depending on who was making the claims. Essentially, nuclear energy tends to have a higher or lower carbon footprint relative to a person’s own view on the issue.
Global carbon emission goals were set by the first international agreement on climate change at COP21, also known as the Paris Climate Agreement. The Trump administration has pulled out of the agreement, making the U.S. the only uncommitted country on the planet. While some on the panel were reluctant to disagree with the Trump administration’s decision, Kollar clearly stated her disapproval.
Oregon Governor, Kate Brown also attended COP23 as part of a Pacific Coast delegation that included California, Washington, and British Columbia. Brown wanted to let the world know that Oregon is still working towards the goals of the Paris Agreement.