Nuclear industry calls for continued G7 support

29 April 2024

Representatives of the nuclear industry have issued a statement calling for Group of Seven (G7) governments to embrace nuclear deployment as a strategic priority, by maximising use of existing nuclear power plants and setting clear plans for further deployment that would fulfil the targets they set at COP28, to triple global nuclear capacity.

The industry statement is presented to Italy's Minister of the Environment and Energy Security, Gilberto Pichetto Fratin (Image: WNA)

The statement was signed by the heads of Associazione Italiana Nucleare, Canadian Nuclear Association, Groupement des Industriels Français de l'Energie Nucléaire (Gifen), Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, Nuclear Energy Institute, Nuclear Industry Association, Nucleareurope and World Nuclear Association.

It was presented to Italy's Minister of the Environment and Energy Security, Gilberto Pichetto Fratin, at an event held alongside the G7 Ministerial Meeting on Climate, Energy and Environment in Turin, Italy. Fratin is President of the G7 for Climate, Energy and Environment.

The associations said they are committed to "ensuring safe and secure operation of nuclear facilities to provide always-on, affordable, clean low-carbon electricity and heat; to complement renewables in the pursuit of achieving net-zero in electricity generation; to decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors, such as heavy industry, and to provide high-quality long-term jobs that drive economic growth."

They noted that nuclear energy's role to support climate change mitigation was "unanimously agreed" in COP28's Global Stocktake, and 25 countries demonstrated greater ambition, setting a goal to triple nuclear capacity globally by 2050 in a declaration during COP.

In March, at the Nuclear Energy Summit in Brussels, more than 30 countries, including six of the G7, re-emphasised that nuclear energy has a key role to play to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and ensure energy security and industrial competitiveness.

"We applaud the recognition and support expressed for nuclear energy as a strategic global asset at the G7 meeting in Sapporo in 2023, and the actions that have been taken since," they added.

"We urge G7 governments to set out clear plans for nuclear energy deployment that would fulfil the targets they set at COP28 and to demonstrate their commitment to nuclear energy, giving clear signals to markets and investors," the industry statement says. "We therefore encourage governments to help maximise the use of existing nuclear power plants, including by extending the operating period of reactors and restarting those that have shutdown, where feasible."

The industry calls for G7 governments to accelerate the deployment of new nuclear facilities based on proven designs, and accelerate the development, demonstration, and deployment of new nuclear technologies, including new large reactors as well as small modular reactors and advanced modular reactors, to achieve net-zero in electricity generation, and help decarbonise non-grid, hard-to-abate sectors, such as heat supply for heavy industry, hydrogen production and the manufacturing of synthetic fuels.

The associations said G7 Climate, Energy and Environment Ministers must take decisive action by: establishing optimum conditions through consistent and coherent long-term policies that enable the extension of the operating life of existing reactors and facilitate fleet deployment of nuclear technologies; providing clarity to investors on the funding and investment recovery mechanisms available for nuclear projects; ensuring ready access to national and international climate finance mechanisms for nuclear development; ensuring that multilateral financial institutions include nuclear energy in their investment portfolios; clearly and unambiguously labelling nuclear energy and the associated fuel cycle as a sustainable investment; and promoting development of the supply chain commensurate with expansion targets and continue investment in nuclear research.

"Nuclear energy holds immense promise for the world, and the G7 should embrace nuclear deployment as a strategic priority in the years to come," the statement ends.

The G7 is an informal forum that brings together Italy, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the USA. The European Union also participates in the group and is represented at the summits by the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission.

The G7 Ministerial Meeting on Climate, Energy and Environment is being held in Turin on 28-30 April and "aims to identify coherent, complementary and interconnected actions to address the ongoing climate, energy and environmental crisis, with a special focus on the most vulnerable areas and populations".

Speaking from the event, World Nuclear Association Director General Dr Sama Bilbao y León, praised the Italian government's "recognition of nuclear’s role to support climate change mitigation and deep decarbonisation of the entire economy. As an industry we also recognise the role of Italian companies, and indeed of companies from all G7 countries, supporting an acceleration in nuclear development and deployment globally".

Researched and written by World Nuclear News