IEA head Birol sees nuclear power making 'strong comeback'

Executive Director of the International Energy Agency Fatih Birol speaks during the Annual Meeting 2019 of the World Economic Forum. Birol believes nuclear power is making "a strong comeback" around the world. Valeriano Di Domenico/World Economic Forum/dpa
Executive Director of the International Energy Agency Fatih Birol speaks during the Annual Meeting 2019 of the World Economic Forum. Birol believes nuclear power is making "a strong comeback" around the world. Valeriano Di Domenico/World Economic Forum/dpa
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The head of the international Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol, believes nuclear power is making "a strong comeback" around the world.

This applies in France, Asia, North America, the Middle East and elsewhere, he told dpa ahead of the association's ministerial meeting in Paris on Tuesday.

"After the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, many countries have understood the importance of nuclear together with renewables, homegrown electricity generation," he said.

Birol struck a critical tone when it came to Germany's nuclear phase-out, which was completed last year: "If I was a government where there was a technology which was running in [sic] impeccable terms, without having any challenges, to leave them aside and look at the options which would on one hand increase my reliance on other countries, which also would lead to increase of emissions, I would have given a second thought."

The Belgian government had pursued a similar policy before the Russian invasion of Ukraine and then decided against it, he pointed out.

Birol said the issue of nuclear waste is a serious challenge, but argued that this problem could be solved and was not a reason to "throw the technology aside."