The global nuclear industry is in the middle of a renaissance but still faces financing challenges and needs government support for projects, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Fatih Birol said on Tuesday.
The sector should take advantage of the global energy crisis as well as the climate crisis to launch a “second wave” of power plant construction like the one carried out in the 1970s in response to the global oil crisis, Birol said during the opening ceremony of the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris.
“Today, I can assure you that nuclear is making a strong comeback, a very strong comeback,” he said, citing plans by operators to extend existing power plants as well as plans for new reactors and innovative small modular reactors (SMRs).
“Without genuine government support, we will not be able to see nuclear power… growing very, very strongly (as) many of us would like,” Birol said.
“(I) very much hope that the investment is also facilitated by the multilateral development banks. I do not know why the MDBs up to now did not show enough interest in the nuclear investment, especially like the extensions and the SMRs,” he said.
“This is an issue that I would like to take up in the next month at the International Energy Agency,” he added.
The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Mariano Grossi said the statutes of international institutions often prevent the financing of nuclear projects.
“The reality is that all of these very positive developments are adding much less nuclear than what we actually need,” Grossi said.
“We are still living in an environment that is charged with, in some cases, statutory provisions for international financial institutions that prevent … nuclear projects to be financed,” he added.