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22 countries commit at COP28 to tripling nuclear capacity by 2050

22 countries COP28 tripling nuclear capacity by 2050

Photo: Emmanuel Macron / X

Published

December 4, 2023

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Published:

December 4, 2023

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Heads of state and other top officials from 22 countries signed the Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy by 2050. The technology can help to decarbonize district heating, desalination, industry processes and hydrogen production, IAEA said ahead of the ceremony, held at COP28.

French President Emmanuel Macron and United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry announced in Dubai that the Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy by 2050 was signed at the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP28 or the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Heads of state and other top officials from 22 countries said the new goal is necessary to achieve carbon neutrality “by or around mid-century” and prevent global warming from exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100.

The United States, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Ghana, Hungary, Japan, Republic of Korea, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom called on international financial institutions and regional development banks to encourage the inclusion of nuclear energy in energy lending policies.

Signatories highlight significance of SMRs, supply chain resilience

New nuclear technologies could occupy a small land footprint and can be sited where needed, partner well with renewable energy sources, and have additional flexibilities that support decarbonization beyond the power sector, including hard-to-abate industrial sectors, the declaration reads.

Nuclear energy is seen contributing to the scaleup of the production of hydrogen and synthetic fuels

The signatories recognized the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in supporting its member states to include nuclear power in their national energy planning in a sustainable way that adheres to the highest standards of safety, security, and safeguards. The technology can help to decarbonize district heating, desalination, industry processes and hydrogen production, IAEA said in the runup to the event.

The initiative supports the construction of small modular reactors or SMRs and other advanced solutions as well as wider industrial applications for decarbonization, such as for hydrogen or synthetic fuel production. The declaration highlights the importance of promoting resilient supply chains, including fuel.

Initiative includes lifetime extension of existing nuclear plants

Where feasible, the lifetimes of nuclear power plants should be extended, the group of countries pointed out. They called on other nations to join and vowed to help them “explore new civil nuclear deployment.”

Tripling nuclear energy capacity by 2050 provides the world with a realistic and practical path for carbon emissions to be cut to net zero, according to the Nuclear Energy Agency, which operates under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and World Nuclear Association.

France spearheaded the foundation of a so-called Nuclear Alliance with a majority of European Union member states after succeeding in the inclusion of the technology in the 27-nation bloc’s green taxonomy. The sustainability label for nuclear power plants spread to other legislation, too. In addition, the European Union is preparing to establish an industry alliance for SMRs early next year.

In other news from the COP28 gathering, 118 governments issued a declaration to endorse the goal to triple renewable energy capacity worldwide by 2030, to 11 TW, and double the annual rate of the results of energy efficiency measures to 4%. Notably, China and India aren’t in the group. The document is called Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge.

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