The World Nuclear Association (WNA), headquartered in London, England, has an interesting position on nuclear power. The association, which represents members all over the world, is a private-sector organization advocating for peaceful world use of nuclear power as a sustainable energy resource.
The WNA is talking about nuclear energy in a positive way. They are concerned with generation and other aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle including conversion, mining, enrichment, fuel fabrication, plant manufacture, transport, and the safe deposit of spent fuel. The association represents the interests of its members by promoting public understanding of nuclear technology. On the WNA website, the organization explains their mandate this way: “To serve as the pre-eminent global forum and commercial meeting place for those engaged in providing the world’s largest source of safe, economic and environmentally friendly energy; and to provide a respected information service on nuclear energy and to speak pro-actively on behalf of nuclear energy amongst policymakers, opinion leaders, the media and the public”.
John Ritch, Director General of the WNA, has spoken at many worldwide events, and is just the right representative for the job. Ritch joined the WNA in January 2001 after serving as a U.S. ambassador to UN organizations in Vienna for several years, among them the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization. Ritch was active in promoting the IAEA’s global strengthenedsafeguards system and new conventions on nuclear safety. His previous experience as a staff adviser to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a period of 22 years has only helped his term at the WNA – as he was previously a specialist in East-West relations and nuclear arms control. Ritch is also a Rhodes Scholar, adding to his impressive resume.
Advocating the future
Ritch’s job demands that he speak about the possible consequences of population growth and the need for more energy to sustain this growth. In a speech in Paris on June 29, 2009, at Platt’s 4th Annual European Nuclear Power Conference, Ritch explained how disastrous the implications of un-sustained energy use are:
“Between now and 2050, as world population swells from 6.8 billion toward 9 billion, humankind will consume more energy than the combined total used in all previous history. Under present patterns of energy use, the consequences will prove calamitous.
The resulting pollution will damage or ruin the health of tens and likely hundreds of millions of citizens, mainly in the developing world. Far worse, the intensifying concentration of greenhouse gases will take us past a point of no return as we hurdle toward climate catastrophe. Today the world economy is producing greenhouse emissions at the rate of 30 billion tonnes per year – nearly 1,000 tonnes per second.
Our best Earth-system scientists warn that greenhouse gas emissions, if continued at this massive scale, will yield consequences that are – quite literally – apocalyptic: increasingly radical temperature changes, a worldwide upsurge in violent weather events, widespread drought, flooding, wildfires, famine, species extinction, rising sea levels, mass migration and epidemic disease that will leave no country untouched.
For all of us, even those most determined to face reality, the crisis we face is counter-intuitive for simple reasons of human instinct.” He states that
there is a necessity for a “Nuclear Century”:
“Our world – developed and developing countries together – must achieve a massive expansion in the use of nuclear power if we are to meet the needs of a growing global population while preserving the planetary environment on which civilization depends.”
The basic function of WNA
Essentially, the WNA represents the nuclear industry by being a conduit for information. Ritch says “we speak for the nuclear industry in the most basic way – by providing accurate and comprehensive information about it”. The association considers its role of facilitation essential – as they “facilitate commercially valuable interaction among Institutional Members”. The WNA facilitates working groups, helps them share information and then develops analysis on various technical, trade, and environmental issues.
These issues include:
• nuclear fuel production
• industry economics
• nuclear trade issues
• radiological protection
• ‘nuclear event’ definition
• waste management and decommissioning
• sustainable development and climate change
• security of the international nuclear fuel cycle
• safe and sustainable uranium stewardship
• global strategies on public education and public policy
A valuable partner
The activities undertaken by the WNA are embodied
by the WNA Charter of Ethics, which illustrate a
fundamental point: “nuclear energy is not a competitor
of ‘renewable’ technologies such as wind and solar
power, but rather a needed partner in meeting the
world’s vast and expanding need for clean energy”.
For more information on the WNA, visit www.world-nuclear.org.
WNA Affiliates include:
• Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy (EFN)
• International Chernobyl Centre (ICC)
• International Youth Nuclear Congress (IYNC)
• Joan Pye Project
• NSnet (Nuclear Safety Network)
• Supporters of Nuclear Energy (SONE)
• Uranium Information Centre (UIC)
• Women in Nuclear (WIN-Global)
Nationally oriented Affiliates include:
• American Nuclear Society
• Australian Nuclear Association
• Austrian Nuclear Society
• Brazilian Association for Nuclear Development
• British Energy Association
• British Nuclear Energy Society
• (British) Nuclear Industry Association (NIAUK)
• Bulgarian Atomic Forum
• Bulgarian Nuclear Society
• Canadian Nuclear Association
• Chinese Nuclear Society
• Czech Nuclear Society
• Finnish Nuclear Society
• Finnish Youth for Nuclear Energy
• French Nuclear Society
• German Atomic Forum
• Indian Nuclear Society
• Italian Nuclear Association
• Japan Atomic Industrial Forum
• Japanese Atomic Energy Society (AESJ)
• Kazakh Nuclear Society
• Korean Nuclear Society
• Polish Nuclear Society
• Romanian Nuclear Energy Association (AREN)
• Russian Nuclear Society
• Slovak Nuclear Society
• Spanish Nuclear Society
• Swedish Nuclear Society
• Swiss Nuclear Society
• Ukrainian Nuclear Society.