Energy ministers from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum have agreed that the deployment of clean energy sources - including nuclear energy - should be promoted in the region.
Meeting in Fukui, Japan on 19 June, the Apec energy ministers signed a declaration setting directions to advance energy security, improve energy efficiency and increase the clean energy supply in the region.
The statement said: "We met with the understanding that we have to take on the difficult challenge of enhancing regional energy security, in the midst of emerging concerns about the global environment and world economy." It added, "More efficient use of energy and a cleaner energy supply will simultaneously boost our energy security, grow our economies and lower our emission."
The ministers instructed the Apec Energy Working Group (EWG) to "explore mechanisms to encourage economies to set individual goals and action plans for introducing low-emission power sources."
The declaration states, "Low emission power sources - renewable, nuclear and fossil-fuels with carbon capture and storage - can allow electricity generation to expand in a sustainable fashion without the risk of needing to be curtailed to cope with climate change; their deployment should be promoted."
The energy ministers note, "A growing number of interested economies are using nuclear power to diversify their energy mix and limit carbon emissions. These economies are reaffirming their international commitment to safety, security and non-proliferation as the fundamental elements for the peaceful use of nuclear energy." Their statement adds, "We therefore need to assess the emissions reduction potential of nuclear power in Apec."
The ministers instructed the EWG to undertake a Nuclear Power Emissions Reduction Potential Study on the potential for existing and planned nuclear power plants in interested Apec economies to reduced carbon emissions.
The statement noted, "Solid financial frameworks, as well as cooperation among member economies and with relevant multilateral organizations, can help to support new nuclear power plant construction consistent with this commitment."
In September 2007, Apec member states agreed to an aspirational goal of a 25% reduction of energy intensity, relative to economic development by 2030, relative to 2005.
The Apec energy ministers noted that this aspirational level "will be far surpassed if recent trends continue." They therefore requested that the EWG assess "the potential for reducing the energy intensity of economic output in Apec economies between 2005 and 2030" with a view to recommending an enhanced goal.
Apec is an inter-governmental forum with the aim of facilitating economic growth and prosperity, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region, and operates on the basis of non-binding commitments.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News