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‘Net Zero Nuclear’ Initiative Calls for Global Collaboration to Triple World Nuclear Capacity by 2050

World Nuclear Association (WNA) and the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), with the support of the Atoms4NetZero initiative launched by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), today called for unprecedented collaboration between government, industry leaders and civil society to triple global nuclear capacity to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The urgent call for rapid deployment of more nuclear technologies was made during the launch of ‘Net Zero Nuclear’; an initiative for action and advocacy for nuclear energy’s role in achieving global clean energy security, which was debuted during the opening of the World Nuclear Symposium taking place in London this week.

Recent data modelling has shown that global nuclear energy capacity should at least triple by 2050 to achieve climate targets while still ensuring global energy security. This would require the worldwide rate of deployment to average 40 GW per year, more than six times the rate of deployment over the past decade.

In the lead up to COP28, which will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates in Dubai later this year, Net Zero Nuclear aims to bring together political leaders and industry to engage in data-driven, actionable, solutions-focused dialogue to enable the rapid expansion of the global nuclear fleet and the acceleration of research and development into emerging nuclear technologies. The initiative will work to ensure nuclear energy’s potential is fully realized in facilitating the decarbonization of global energy systems, by promoting the value of nuclear energy and removing barriers to its growth.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, said: “Building on the efforts made during COP 26 and COP 27, nuclear energy will feature even more prominently at COP28. As more nations understand the role nuclear can play in achieving energy security and decarbonisation targets, global support for nuclear energy is growing. Analysts agree that globally we cannot achieve carbon neutrality without a rapid expansion of nuclear energy capacity. We welcome the important objectives of Net Zero Nuclear launched by the nuclear industry, which is in line with the Atoms4NetZero initiative launched by the IAEA and we will continue to provide technical support and cooperation to countries with existing nuclear power programmes and those considering embarking on them”.

Dr Sama Bilbao y León, Director General of World Nuclear Association, said: “We cannot afford to underestimate the role nuclear energy must play in achieving Net Zero. Our world is in the midst of an energy crisis and we continue to experience unprecedented climate-change related weather extremes. The time for debating is over. Nuclear energy is a critical tool in securing future energy systems that are clean, resilient and secure. But scaling up nuclear energy capacity to at least three times its current size requires political will from energy leaders, along with mobilizing quickly and efficiently the required financing. We have no time to lose in delivering a realistic, proven approach to the clean energy transition. Through Net Zero Nuclear, we hope to facilitate the action our industry needs to grow.”

His Excellency Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ENEC, which leads the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program and its flagship Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, said: “Nuclear energy is a key source of electricity for delivering Net Zero. It is the only source of dispatchable, low-carbon, climate-resilient energy we have available that can reliably produce vast amounts of clean electricity, day and night. It brings energy security, resilience, diversity and sustainability to an energy system. Beyond the grid, nuclear’s potential to enable the decarbonisation of heavy industry and transport sectors through heat, steam and hydrogen should provide even greater impetus to ensure nuclear’s growth is strongly supported through sound policy, access to finance and unprecedented collaboration. The UAE example has proven that nuclear energy can be a modern-day climate solution – delivering a transformational shift in the carbon intensity of power supply. In just over a decade, nuclear energy is producing a quarter of the nation’s energy needs.

The UAE, as host of COP 28, welcomes other nations coming to the UAE for COP 28 to learn how the nation has rapidly decarbonized its power grid through the deployment of nuclear energy, offering a model for others looking for a proven route to reducing carbon emissions while boosting energy security.”

During the global launch in London, it was announced that the UK Department for Energy Security and Net Zero would be joining ‘Net Zero Nuclear’ as the inaugural government partner to collaborate and support the initiative on the road towards COP28 in the UAE.

UK Minister for Nuclear and Networks Andrew Bowie, said: “We have launched a nuclear power revival in the UK, with projects like Hinkley and Sizewell C, but also with Great British Nuclear supporting the latest cutting-edge technologies like small modular reactors. I am therefore proud that the UK is the first government partner in this new initiative, as a means of championing nuclear technologies both to boost global energy security and in achieving net zero – particularly as we look ahead to COP28.”

In the UAE, where sun is abundant and where renewables have a major role to play in the energy mix, nuclear energy has delivered the largest decarbonisation of the nation’s history, with the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, which will generate 40 TWh annually once fully operational while preventing the release of over 22 million ton of carbon emissions, being the largest single source of clean electricity in the country. The UAE’s nuclear energy program is one of the most cost and time-efficient new nuclear builds in recent history.

Globally, nuclear energy has experienced a significant resurgence over the past two years, as nations rush to meet energy security and decarbonisation targets. The industry has benefited from major policy announcements in different nations, including the UK, US, Canada, Japan, France and China, as well as growing inclusion in green financing mechanisms and a major uptick in private investment interest in nuclear energy technologies.

For more information on Net Zero Nuclear visit: netzeronuclear.org


About the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) is part of ADQ, one of the region’s largest holding companies with a broad portfolio of major enterprises spanning key sectors of Abu Dhabi’s diversified economy. Established by decree in December 2009 by the late His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, ENEC represents all aspects of the United Arab Emirates Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program.

ENEC’s flagship Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is generating safe, clean and reliable 24/7 electricity for the United Arab Emirates, supporting the Nation’s social and economic growth and tackling climate change. As a result, the Barakah Plant is a sustainable powerhouse for the Nation, spearheading the United Arab Emirates’ Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative by leading the largest decarbonization effort in the UAE and Arab World. ENEC is exploring further opportunities through its R&D Roadmap, including advanced nuclear technologies such as Small Modular Reactor (SMR) technology and clean hydrogen generation, as well as in related industries, such as space exploration, agriculture and medicine.

About Nawah Energy Company

A Joint Venture subsidiary of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and partially owned by the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), Nawah Energy Company has been mandated to safely operate and maintain Units 1 to 4 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in adherence to the highest standards of quality, safety, security, and operational transparency.

Nawah is a multinational, multicultural company committed to operating excellence through its skilled nuclear energy workforce in the United Arab Emirates, with a focus on the development of UAE Nationals, and ensuring the highest levels of efficiency and standards in operating the Barakah Plant.

About Barakah One Company

A Joint Venture subsidiary of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and partially owned by the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), Barakah One Company is in charge of representing the financial and commercial interests of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant project.

For more information, visit www.enec.gov.ae

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About World Nuclear Association

World Nuclear Association is the international organisation that represents the global nuclear industry. Its mission is to promote a wider understanding of nuclear energy among key international influencers by producing authoritative information, developing common industry positions, and contributing to the energy debate, as well as to pave the way for expanding nuclear business.

For more information, visit world-nuclear.org

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Source: World Nuclear Association