Leaders of the group of Seven (G7) large industrialised countries should encourage the extension of the operating lives of existing nuclear reactors and support the restart of others to help achieve the nuclear industry’s goals of low carbon and secure energy supplies.
In a joint message ahead of the Leaders’ summit in Germany on June 26, the Canadian Nuclear Association, The Japan Atomic Industry Forum, Nuclear Europe, the US Nuclear Energy Institute, the UK Nuclear Industry Association and the World Nuclear Association called on G7 leaders to:
• Encourage as long as possible the operating life of nuclear reactors and support the restart of other operational reactors. The groups say that, according to the IEA, extending the operating life of existing reactors is the cheapest way to ensure additional low-carbon power generation.
• The inclusion of nuclear energy in national and international green finance policy frameworks demonstrates that the nuclear industry will play a key role in the global fight against climate change, not only in G7 countries but also in developing economies.
• Setting ambitious targets for new national capacity targets backed by pragmatic policy tools and an effective regulatory framework.
• Support the development of small and advanced nuclear technologies to expand the use of nuclear power and achieve deeper and broader decarbonization beyond the power generation sector.
“The G7’s commitment to move away from fossil fuels will require investments in low-carbon technologies, combined with strong policies, to further accelerate the transition to clean and secure energy systems,” the joint statement said. Lasting decarbonisation, which can be achieved quickly by combining nuclear power with renewables, has proved to be an achievable goal.
“Nuclear power is an accessible, affordable, clean and reliable solution for countries seeking to move away from fossil fuels and achieve a just and equitable energy transition. The construction and operation of each nuclear plant creates thousands of highly skilled jobs, supports supply chains and stimulates local economies.
“In addition to power generation, nuclear technology has enormous potential to decarbonize other sectors of the economy — transportation, chemicals, steel manufacturing, among others — through heat and hydrogen production.”
The call to consider extending the lives of existing nuclear reactors and reopening recently closed ones comes amid energy security and supply problems caused by soaring energy prices and the russian-Ukrainian situation.
A senior official in US President Joe Biden’s administration told reporters on Wednesday they expected THE G7 leaders to discuss steps to “stabilise global energy markets” as Washington seeks more economic co-operation to curb high commodity prices that are weighing on the world, the Financial Times reported.
Germany is seeking to ensure stable energy supplies and reduce its dependence on Russian gas, but has not changed its plans to retire its last three operational reactors by the end of 2022.
Britain has six nuclear power stations that provide about 16 percent of the country’s electricity, but most are due to be decommissioned by the end of the century.