Singapore— 22 September 2021 — The team from Singapore comprising of Claire Li, Linda Zeng and Komal Prashar has won the IAEA Net Zero Challenge which was organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Currently pursuing their undergraduate studies at London School of Economics and Political Science, King’s College London and National University of Singapore respectively, the students participated in the competition as part of their internship project with Nuclear Business Platform (NBP), a division of Singapore headquartered Industry Platform Pte Ltd.
“As passionate believers of nuclear energy in combating climate change, we are extremely elated to have won the IAEA challenge! The entire experience- from discussion to planning to drafting the specifics of the policy, was an immensely enriching and enjoyable one. Although an ambitious goal, we hope to see our policy come into fruition in the not too distant future, as well as greater efforts in incorporating nuclear energy into the global energy mix,” said Linda Zeng.
IAEA Net Zero Challenge
Launched in June 2021, the Net Zero Challenge is a contest that asked young people around the world to craft winning policy proposals for the clean energy transition. 71 submissions from 32 countries were received from participants with very different backgrounds: students, engineers, researchers and policy makers. Participants had to respond to the question: How can nuclear energy, alongside other low carbon energy sources, help your country or region to achieve their net zero targets?
The Singaporean youths developed a hypothetical proposal that would help the island nation decarbonize the global shipping industry through an initiative to use fuel cells with green hydrogen produced by low-carbon nuclear energy.
“We realised that the shipping industry is responsible for 17% of the annual carbon emissions. With the important position held by Singapore as the busiest shipping port, adoption of decarbonisation strategies in this sector can significantly influence the entire industry as a whole. As part of our policy recommendation, hydrogen import seems very feasible given our current import of natural gas as well as other resources. Starting with nuclear-produced-hydrogen, the country can be introduced to nuclear energy in an economically viable yet indirect manner that might improve perception and possibly encourage larger-scale adoption in the future,” said Komal Prashar.
UN Climate Change Conference (COP26)
A representative of the winning team will have the opportunity to participate in an IAEA event at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November in Glasgow. The IAEA plans to hold several events at COP26, presenting the scientific and technical reasons on how nuclear energy plays a significant role in climate change mitigation. The IAEA will inform political leaders, industry, scientists and civil society attending the COP26 about the benefits of nuclear science and technology in helping the world to both mitigate and adapt to climate change.
“I am very honoured to have the opportunity to represent my team at COP26. It is a very exciting opportunity to be part of the action against climate change and I look forward to partaking in the discourse on furthering the net zero goals for countries around the world and helping to save the future of us youth,” said Claire Li.