A group of around 20 countries called for the expansion of nuclear power at the UN climate conference in Dubai. The USA, France, Great Britain and the host country United Arab Emirates are among those involved in the joint statement published on Saturday. The aim is to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, it said. The focus in Dubai is on the demand for the expansion of renewable energies.

The group of states demanded that the installed capacity of nuclear power plants worldwide be tripled by 2050 – compared to the level in 2020. The declaration was distributed by the US climate representative John Kerry. The signatories also include Belgium, Finland, Japan, Poland, Sweden and Ukraine, but not Russia and China, which also have a large number of nuclear power plants.

Kerry referred to scientific statements that climate neutrality by 2050 is “not achievable” without nuclear power. The declaration also calls for international financial institutions to promote the expansion of nuclear power. This is currently partially excluded in their statutes. Critics point to the risks associated with nuclear power, unresolved disposal issues and high costs.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, also called for further investment in nuclear power. It would be a “mistake” to reject nuclear energy because of problems with some projects, he told AFP on the sidelines of the UN climate conference in Dubai. Hurdles in financing nuclear power plants would have to be overcome.

“There are statutes at some international lenders that preclude financing nuclear energy,” Grossi said. The World Bank has not financed a nuclear power plant since 1959. “I think this is completely outdated. It does not meet any scientific or technological criteria,” the IAEA chief added.

The focus at the climate conference is on the expansion of renewable energies. On Friday, a majority of more than 110 countries supported the goal, also supported by Germany, of tripling their output by 2030 and at the same time doubling energy efficiency by then. While there is broad support for the expansion of renewables in Dubai, the positions on the move away from fossil fuels that this should entail are different – as well as on nuclear power.

Germany stopped using nuclear power to generate energy in April. Their share of global electricity generation is currently almost ten percent. The peak was 17.5 percent in 1996.

Meanwhile, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for a global exit from coal, oil and gas before the plenary session in Dubai. “We must now all show a firm determination to get out of fossil fuels – first and foremost coal. We can set sail for this at this climate conference,” said the SPD politician in his speech on Saturday.

Scholz also said that it is still possible to reduce climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions this decade to such an extent that the 1.5 degree target agreed in Paris in 2015 is met. “But science tells us very clearly: We have to hurry up – despite all the geopolitical tensions,” he said, referring to the wars in the Gaza Strip and Ukraine, which are also a big topic at the climate conference.

Climate change remains “the great, global challenge of our time,” emphasized Scholz. But there are already all the necessary means to meet this challenge. “The technologies are there: wind power, photovoltaics, electric drives, green hydrogen.” Germany is pressing ahead with these developments. “As a successful industrial country, we want to live and work climate-neutrally by 2045,” he said.