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More than 20 countries launch declaration to triple nuclear energy capacity by 2050 at COP28

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Chiranjib Sengupta

Managing Editor

Energy Connects

Dec 06, 2023

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Countries that have endorsed the declaration include the United States, Canada, Finland, France, Japan, Republic of Korea, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom.

More than 20 countries from four continents have launched the Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy at COP28, underscoring the key role of nuclear energy in achieving global net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and keeping the 1.5-degree goal within reach.

The declaration, which was unveiled during the World Climate Action Summit at COP28, aims to bring the global community together to advance the goal of tripling nuclear energy capacity by 2050 and invite shareholders of international financial institutions to encourage the inclusion of nuclear energy in energy lending policies.

Countries that have endorsed the declaration include the United States, Canada, Finland, France, Japan, Republic of Korea, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom.

The declaration stems from the recognition that nuclear energy is already the second-largest source of clean dispatchable baseload power, with benefits for energy security. Analyses from the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and World Nuclear Association also show that global installed nuclear energy capacity must triple by 2050 in order to reach global net-zero emissions by the same year.

Against that backdrop, the nations said in the joint declaration that they commit to take domestic actions to ensure nuclear power plants are operated in line with the highest standards of safety, sustainability, security, and non-proliferation, and that fuel waste is responsibly managed for the long term; as well as to mobilise investments in nuclear power, including through innovative financing mechanisms.

A key focus of the declaration is on nuclear technology, where the countries committed to supporting the development and construction of nuclear reactors, such as small modular and other advanced reactors for power generation as well as wider industrial applications for decarbonisation, such as for hydrogen or synthetic fuels production, according to a statement by the US Department of Energy (DOE).

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The declaration also recognises that “new nuclear technologies could occupy a small land footprint and can be sited where needed, partner well with renewable energy sources and have additional flexibilities that support decarbonisation beyond the power sector, including hard-to-abate industrial sectors”.

“The significance of the Ministerial Declaration cannot be overstated. The countries supporting this declaration are making a resolute commitment, placing nuclear energy at the heart of their strategies for climate change mitigation. Their vision is one that strives for a sustainable, cost-effective, secure, and equitable energy mix all over the world,” Dr Sama Bilbao y León, Director General of the World Nuclear Association, said following the adoption of the declaration.

“On behalf of the global nuclear industry, I express my deepest appreciation for your collective effort in crafting this bold and pragmatic declaration. Your commitment to nuclear energy is not just a statement; we take it as a challenge extended to the entire nuclear industry worldwide,” she added.

The Net Zero Nuclear initiative was co-founded by the World Nuclear Association and the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation along with support from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and calls for unprecedented collaboration between government and industry leaders to at least triple global nuclear capacity to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

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