Industry highlights critical role of nuclear at G7 Energy Ministers’ meeting in Japan

G7 leaders should support extending the operating life of nuclear reactors for as long as possible and the restart of operable reactors to cut fossil fuel use, according to global representatives of the nuclear industry.

In a joint declaration, issued at the Nuclear Energy Forum, which is being held in Sapporo alongside the meeting of G7 Ministers on climate, energy and environment, the heads of the Canadian Nuclear Association, Japan Atomic Industries Forum, nucleareurope (EU), Nuclear Energy Institute (US), Nuclear Industry Association (UK), and the World Nuclear Association have also called on G7 leaders to accelerate the deployment of new reactors and the development of small and advanced nuclear technologies.

The trade bodies have pointed out that, according to the International Energy Agency, extending the operating life of existing reactors is the lowest cost method of securing additional low-carbon electricity generation. Moreover, nuclear power is the only clean, reliable and sovereign source of electricity currently available.

The industry leaders also noted the drive to cut reliance on Russia for civil nuclear goods by building up additional capacity in the G7 countries and allied nations.

Since G7 countries represent around half of the world’s existing nuclear capacity and have dozens of reactors either idled or threatened with early closure, they have a critical role to play in driving nuclear investment and output to reduce global dependency on coal and gas.

Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said:

“The UK is uniquely placed to help our allies cut their use of Russian nuclear fuel by building up our own nuclear fuel capabilities at Springfields and Capenhurst. That means jobs for Britain, energy security for our friends, and less energy leverage for Russia. We should continue and deepen our cooperation with our G7 partners to drive nuclear investment forward at every level.”

The Nuclear Energy Forum is being webcast live from 05:50 BST on Sunday, 16 April and will be available to be watched later on-demand.

Nuclear industry reaction and recommendation to the G7 Climate, Energy and Environment Minister`s Meeting in Sapporo (April 15-16, 2023)

As governments strive to decarbonize economies and mitigate the impacts of global warming, nuclear energy must serve as a cornerstone of the just transition to a clean and sustainable energy future.

To support decarbonization at the scale required, the international community must work to extend the operating period of existing nuclear generation resources, develop the policies to enable new nuclear deployment and accelerate the development of a new portfolio of reactor technologies.

Nuclear energy is uniquely positioned to provide energy systems with:

  • Always-on, clean, affordable electricity to meet the world’s energy needs while achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • Low-carbon electricity with a high energy density from a compact footprint, thereby reducing habitat and biodiversity loss.
  • High-quality long-term jobs that drive economic growth.
  • Energy security against geopolitical, economic and social challenges.

Taken together, these characteristics enable nuclear energy to be the foundation of a clean energy future that meets climate goals, improves public health and quality of life, and contributes to energy security and economic prosperity.

We, the nuclear industry associations representing the nuclear industry worldwide including G7 countries, recognize the positive steps taken by most of the G7 countries and encourage G7 Climate, Energy and Environment Ministers to take additional meaningful actions to maximize the benefits of nuclear energy for people all over the world:

1) Maximize the utilization of existing nuclear power plants (NPPs)
According to the International Energy Agency, long-term operation of existing NPPs is the most affordable form of low-carbon electricity generation. Therefore, we encourage governments to maximize the use of existing NPPs and their contribution to achieving decarbonization, energy security and socio-economic development goals by extending the operating period of NPPs for as long as is feasible. This includes supporting the restart of operable reactors and encouraging efficient safety reviews.

2) Accelerate the deployment of new NPPs
We encourage governments to set ambitious targets for the deployment of new NPPs and to support their development with practical policy instruments and efficient energy market frameworks, with a view of enabling the electricity market to recognize the real value of nuclear energy, so that we can achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and maintaining it thereafter.

3) Support international cooperation and the nuclear supply chain
We encourage governments to support efforts to develop supply chain capacity, including nuclear fuel (as appropriate under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and consistent with Nuclear Suppliers Group Guidelines), and to promote cooperation with like-minded nations, such as G7 countries, who seek to achieve the strategic independence of their supplies.

In this regard, some nations will choose to reduce reliance on civil nuclear and related goods from Russia through the development of additional capabilities within their own supply chains or in cooperation with like-minded states who seek to diversify their supplies, especially with regard to nuclear fuel.

We encourage knowledge-sharing among like-minded nations regarding international nuclear-related technologies and, for example, supporting supply chains in relation to compliance with standards, certification, and export controls.

4) Develop a financial environment that promotes investment in nuclear power
We encourage governments to establish policies that clearly indicate to the global financial community that nuclear energy will play an important role to combat climate change and ensure sustainable development without having negative impact on the environment. For example, including nuclear power in the framework of international green and sustainable financing policies encourages investments in the deployment, expansion, and replacement of NPPs.

5) Harmonize and modernize highly efficient international regulatory standards
We encourage governments to promote the harmonization and modernization of regulatory frameworks to enable efficient deployment of nuclear energy, including advanced nuclear technologies, while ensuring safety and security and respecting national regulatory sovereignty.   International regulatory efficiency should be promoted through cooperation between national regulatory authorities including reviews and codes and standards to ultimately enable the deployment of standardized designs across multiple countries.

6) Support innovative nuclear technology development
We encourage governments to expand support for the development, demonstration and deployment of new nuclear technologies, such as small modular reactors and other advanced technologies, with innovative features contributing to safety and economic efficiency. Social implementation of innovative nuclear technology through its accelerated deployment responds to the needs of society, including working in synergy with renewable energy, hydrogen production, and heat utilization.

7) Promote public understanding of nuclear energy
We encourage governments to take steps to increase public awareness and understanding of how nuclear energy contributes to meeting energy security and climate change mitigation policy objectives.

8) Collaborate internationally to share best practices, including working toward the realization of final nuclear waste disposal
We encourage governments to share the experience and knowledge gained by each country’s work including options for used nuclear fuel management, the final disposal of nuclear waste and the activities to increase contribution to the circular economy in the nuclear sector.

9) Support countries that have newly introduced, or are considering, nuclear energy
We encourage governments to support countries that have newly introduced or are currently considering nuclear energy an effective means to decarbonize the energy system and meet growing energy demand, including through multilateral cooperation frameworks such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Date: April 16, 2023

p.p. George Christidis
John Gorman, President & CEO of Canada Nuclear Association

Arai Shiro
President of Japan Atomic Industrial Forum

Maria G. Korsnick
President and Chief Executive Officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute

Tom Greatrex
Chief Executive of Nuclear Industry Association

Yves Desbazeille
Director General of nucleareurope

Sama Bilbao y León
Director General of World Nuclear Association


Notes to editors

  • Germany retired its last three operable reactors on April 15, 2023
  • Italy is the only G7 country without nuclear power, and the only country to have completed a nuclear phaseout.
  • The UK has six generating (6.9 GW) nuclear power stations, providing around 16% of the country’s electricity, but all but one station will retire by 2028.
  • The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) confirms that nuclear has the lowest lifecycle carbon of all technologies and the lowest land use and lowest mineral and metal use of all low carbon technologies.

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