We are seeing ever clearer recognition in public opinion and internationally of the role of nuclear in the fight against global warming and in building energy sovereignty.
In their latest reports, intergovernmental agencies (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - IPCC, International Energy Agency - IEA) are increasingly seeing nuclear as an essential lever in the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
At the end of September 2022, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) revised its forecasts upwards, and now expects 870 GW of nuclear power in 2050. Previously, it was predicting 790 GW, compared to 390 GW currently.
In France, the announcements made by the President of the Republic in Belfort, in February 2022, relaunched the nuclear program with the construction of 6 EPR2s, the first of which is scheduled to be operational by 2035,
and studies for a further 8 EPR2s. The plan also makes provision for the extension of the lifetime of existing reactors, in particular the 900 MW series, as well as investments of 1 billion euros between now and 2030 to be allocated to the development of advanced reactors: innovative small-scale reactors.
In the USA, for several years now, there has been a strong dynamic to accelerate innovation in the sector. With a program of more than $ 4Bn of subsidies, the USA is banking on the development of advanced reactors by
supporting start-ups. The ambition is clear: to regain sovereignty in nuclear, with the same method which has made it possible to see the emergence of SpaceX in the space sector or Tesla in the automotive sector! The level of support has been stepped
up with the invasion of Ukraine and the recent inflation act which earmarks $ 700 M for the fabrication of highly enriched fuel for these reactors.
Other countries are once again putting their faith in nuclear as a response to the energy crisis. Over the past few months, to cite just 3 examples:
- Belgium has chosen to extend the lifetime of certain of its reactors;
- in the Netherlands, the new government's coalition agreement envisages the construction of two nuclear power plants;
- the UK has decided to triple installed nuclear capacity between now and 2050, as part of a new energy security strategy. The government is thus aiming for 24 GW of nuclear capacity by 2050 (compared to 7 today).
Did you know?
"62 reactors are under construction worldwide. China has commissioned 35 reactors between 2010 and 2020"
The arrival of a new generation of innovative reactors, such as SMR/AMR-type small modular reactors, will bring nuclear power into a new era. More compact and less costly to manufacture with a fuel cycle allowing the quantity of waste
to be reduced, they complement EPRs well.