Nuclear Politics

Open Letter / Nuclear Industry Warns World Leaders Reactor Shutdowns Could Derail Net-Zero Plans

By David Dalton
14 May 2021

Groups call for equal access to climate finance alongside other low-carbon technologies
Nuclear Industry Warns World Leaders Reactor Shutdowns Could Derail Net-Zero Plans
Nuclear Industry Association chief executive Tom Greatrex: ‘We are calling on policymakers to make the right choices.’ Courtesy NIA.
Key groups representing the global nuclear industry have written an open letter to world leaders warning that the proposed retirement of existing nuclear plants could derail the net-zero transition and calling for the technology to have the same access to climate finance as renewables.

The Canadian Nuclear Association, Foratom, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, the Nuclear Energy Institute, the Nuclear Industry Association and the World Nuclear Association have jointly called on countries to accelerate nuclear investment as part of the net-zero movement.

The groups warn that planned retirements of nuclear plants represent “the single greatest loss of clean power in world history” and that without additional capacity and investment into the sector, the need to reach net-zero could be derailed. The groups estimate that more than 100GW of nuclear capacity will retire globally within 20 years.

Specifically, the letter calls for equal access to climate finance for nuclear technologies alongside low-carbon and renewables and for new nuclear plants to replace retiring capacity to maintain current generation levels. It urges the expansion of civil nuclear energy across the world and the inclusion of nuclear in individual countries’ emissions reduction plans.

The groups say nuclear power is the second most important source of clean power globally, after hydroelectric power. Nuclear produces about 10% of global electricity.

The Nuclear Industry Association’s chief executive Tom Greatrex said: “Nuclear is absolutely vital if we are to hit net zero as a planet. Nuclear delivers reliable clean power, new opportunities for industrial decarbonisation and good, well-paying jobs for a green economy. The retirements of existing stations right across the world mean we need to act today, or we will lose jobs and see higher emissions. We are calling on policymakers to make the right choices.”

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