Nuclear Can Play A Crucial Role In Enabling Energy Transition, IEA Says
The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently released its new Report “Nuclear Power and Secure Energy Transitions”, stressing once again that nuclear energy can help reduce CO2 emissions and allow energy systems to integrate higher shares of intermittent solar and wind power. Net-zero goals and transition to “clean energy systems” will be harder to be achieved without nuclear power, the report confirms.
In today’s context of the global energy crisis, skyrocketing fossil fuel prices, energy security challenges and ambitious climate commitments, I believe nuclear power has a unique opportunity to stage a comeback
said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.
Mr. Birol, however, warned that the success of this nuclear “comeback” will depend on governments putting in place “robust” policies to secure the operation of nuclear plants in the future and to mobilise the needed investment, including in new technologies.
Indeed, in the IEA’s global pathway to reach Net Zero Emissions by 2050, nuclear power doubles between 2020 and 2050, with construction of new plants needed in all countries that are open to the technology.
Moreover, in IEA’s Net Zero by 2050 pathway, half of the emissions reductions by mid-century come from technologies that are not yet commercially viable. This includes small modular reactors (SMRs), which are generally defined as advanced nuclear reactors with a capacity of less than 300 megawatts – or about one-third of a traditional plant.
The lower cost, smaller size and reduced project risks of SMRs may improve social acceptance and attract private investment. There is increased support and interest in Canada, France, the United Kingdom and the United States for this promising technology.
Nuclear is today the second largest source of low emissions power after hydropower, with nuclear plants in 32 countries.