Message: Looking beyond COVID-19

20 April 2020

World Nuclear Association Director General Agneta Rising and Chairman Kirill Komarov have written to the London-headquartered organisation's members to describe their vision for the future of the nuclear industry following the coronavirus pandemic. 

World Nuclear Association Director General Agneta Rising and Chairman Kirill Komarov (Image: World Nuclear Association / Rosatom)

Dear Member,

We write to you in what can only be described as uniquely challenging times, to thank you for the crucial work you do to keep nuclear power online and in development around the world. We praise your efforts and the dedication of your people and we will continue to provide you with any support we may offer.

We also want to update you on the actions World Nuclear Association is taking in ensuring nuclear will be part of the strategic issues post-pandemic and will fully contribute to the sustainable tomorrow we are all working towards.

Long before the present pandemic, the world has had a critical need for more low-carbon electricity and despite the challenging times ahead, it is of the utmost importance that we continue to work towards achieving this goal. We know that developing nuclear power is part of the ultimate proven way of creating low-carbon and affordable energy as well as local and long-term high-value jobs and supply chains.

We are the clean power backbone in many parts of the world, and we create and maintain jobs - making our industry a crucial part of the sustainable future we all seek to build. The current crisis has, however, reinforced the importance of nuclear reactors providing reliable, affordable and resilient baseload power for a world in constant flux, and helps strengthen energy security in these uncertain times.

Governments are also responding to the economic crisis with major stimulus plans for employment and economic recovery. The UN Secretary-General is calling for the construction of more sustainable and resilient economies to build a better world, and with the OECD Secretary-General calling for a “global Marshall Plan”. This offers significant opportunities for our industry.

In these times, the Harmony goal of 1000 GWe of new nuclear capacity by 2050 is more important than ever. In order to realize this, we need to fast-track long-term investments in resilient infrastructure for sustainable development, and we will call on governments around the world for the acceleration of the 439 reactors which are currently planned and proposed to be realized. These projects would offer a significant boost to high quality jobs and drive faster economic recovery.

We have already started this work. We are taking steps to make this a joint effort for the nuclear sector, seeking alignment with global organizations like the OECD-NEA as well as with many of our partners around the world to influence policymakers. This is part of our effort to make sure the nuclear industry will be at the forefront, offering cost-effective solutions leading the way in the battle against the global recession which lies ahead but also providing ways to safeguard the energy transition when government will have to make arbitrages in their investment choices.

We will continue to set out the crucial case to global policymakers for nuclear power in contributing to the post-COVID-19 economic recovery. Together, we will ensure that the power of the atom will be a key part of the future. We will continue to do everything in our power to support you in your endeavours, and together, we will emerge even stronger as an industry, with nuclear being an integral solution to many of the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead of us.

Yours sincerely,

Agneta Rising (Director General)
Kirill Komarov (Chairman)

World Nuclear Association currently has 182 members.