IAEA Annual Report Highlights Mitigation and Adaptation Activities

17 August 2012: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has released its annual report for 2011. The report highlights, inter alia, its research activities on climate change issues in the oceans, isotope applications in hydrology and climate studies, and nuclear energy as a mitigation option.

The report indicates that the Agency strengthened its research activities to monitor radionuclides in the marine and terrestrial environment, and to study climate change issues in the oceans, in particular to study the impact of ocean acidification and climate change on oceanographic processes, ecosystems and associated services.

It stresses that the IAEA's Global Network of Isotopes in Precipitation, managed in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), has been the primary global database since 1961 for isotope applications in hydrology and climate studies. An atlas of isotopes in river waters was completed to aid the efforts of member States in monitoring the hydrological impacts of climate change, as rivers integrate the spatial and temporal changes in precipitation, water use and land use patterns in a catchment.

The report notes that increasing use of groundwater, in part to mitigate the impact of climate change, requires a better understanding of aquifer recharge, for which isotopes of noble gases are a powerful tool. In this context, IAEA informs that a portable sampling device for dissolved noble gases was developed in 2011 that allows wider use of isotopes for climate change adaptation studies.

The 2011 annual report mentions the organization by IAEA of an international symposium on ‘Isotope Hydrology, Marine Ecosystems, and Climate Change Studies,' which was held in Monaco to address the role of isotopes in understanding and modelling climate change, marine ecosystems and water cycles.

The report also mentions that during the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UNFCCC, held at the end of 2011, in Durban, South Africa, the Agency published "Climate Change and Nuclear Power 2011," which emphasizes the importance of nuclear energy in reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the electricity sector and provides up to date information on a number of issues related to the subject. As in previous years, the Agency maintained an information centre at COP 17 that provided an opportunity to present its work on the linkages between nuclear power and climate change mitigation, to disseminate relevant publications, and to discuss broader issues pertaining to nuclear energy with delegates. [IAEA Press Release] [Publication: IAEA Annual Report 2011]