Nuclear leaders issue call for action from G7

17 April 2023

World Nuclear Association and nuclear trade associations from Canada, Japan, Europe, the UK and the USA have issued a declaration calling on G7 governments to support the long-term operation of existing nuclear power plants and to accelerate the deployment of new nuclear power plants.

The declaration was signed by the leaders of the trade associations, watched by the ministers from Canada, Japan, the USA, France and the UK during a first-of-its-kind industrial forum (Image: World Nuclear Association)

The declaration was issued at the Nuclear Energy Forum, held in Sapporo, Japan, alongside the meeting of G7 ministers on climate, energy and environment which took place on 15-16 April. It was signed by the leaders of World Nuclear Association, the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA), Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF), nucleareurope, Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) of the USA and the UK's and Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), watched by ministers from five G7 nations.

Nuclear energy must serve as a cornerstone of the just transition to a clean and sustainable energy future, the declaration says: "To support decarbonisation 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 clean, affordable, low-carbon electricity, from a compact footprint which reduces habitat and biodiversity loss. It provides high-quality long-term jobs that drive economic growth, as well as energy security against geopolitical, economic and social challenges, the declaration says: "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."

Recognising the "positive steps taken by most of the G7 countries", the industry associations "encourage G7 Climate, Energy and Environment Ministers to take additional meaningful actions to maximise the benefits of nuclear energy for people all over the world" by:

  • Maximising the utilisation of existing nuclear power plants
  • Accelerating the deployment of new nuclear plants
  • Supporting international cooperation and the nuclear supply chain
  • Developing a financial environment that promotes investment in nuclear power
  • Supporting innovative nuclear technology development
  • Promoting public understanding of nuclear energy
  • Collaborating internationally to share best practices, including working toward the realisation of final nuclear waste disposal
  • Supporting countries that have newly introduced, or are considering, nuclear energy.

The declaration was signed by World Nuclear Association Director General Sama Bilbao y León, George Christidis, representing CNA President and CEO John Gorman, JAIF President Arai Shiro, NEI President and CEO Maria Korsnick, NIA Chief Executive Tom Greatrex and nucleareurope Director General Yves Desbazeille in the presence of energy ministers from Canada, France, Japan, the UK and the USA.

Speaking at the forum, Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura said the meeting is taking place at a "historical turning point" as ministers and industry work together. "As the presidency of the G7 meeting I have truly felt that we are really discussing the balancing of decarbonisation and the stable supply of energy, and the focus on nuclear has never been stronger," he said.

That nuclear energy was selected for the first industrial forum of its kind ever to be held in conjunction with a G7 ministerial meeting shows a "real seriousness of purpose among the G7 or 5 of the G7 to focus on nuclear," US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said: "We are really standing at the dawn of a new nuclear age...nuclear is a critical, clean, baseload power."

Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson said the "existential threat" of climate change is urgent and requires the G7 nations to show "leadership" to the rest of the world, in a context where energy security has become even more important. "We need to ensure that we are developing a grid that will be reliable, affordable and non-emitting, and in that context nuclear energy is a key part," he said.

French Minister of Energy Transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher said nuclear is "without doubt a major asset to achieve both energy independence and an effective fight against climate change," while Grant Shapps, UK Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, said there is a "renewed buzz" around nuclear: "Deployment of proven, reliable, safe nuclear technology demonstrates that we are serious about energy security and climate action."

The half-day Nuclear Energy Forum, which also included panel discussions with senior figures from the global nuclear industry, can be watched on-demand on YouTube.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News