Uranium Week: Nuclear’s Role In Climate  Goals

Weekly Reports | Apr 27 2021

As the uranium price slides for a third week, global leaders share concerns over climate change and set emission reduction goals.

-The US and Japan reset carbon emission goals
-The IEA's 2021 nuclear power forecast
-The weekly spot uranium price falls -3.6% 

By Mark Woodruff

President Joe Biden announced last week the intention to halve US CO2 emissions from 2005 levels by the end of this decade. This is up from the original goal of 26% by 2025. Existing nuclear power capacity and advanced reactor technology is part of the Biden administration's plan to meet emissions reductions goals in the US.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on heads of state to put their political differences to one side and make a collective effort to tackle global warming. Speaking at a virtual summit for world leaders held on April 22-23, Presidents Putin and Xi made similar remarks. 

The Russian president said: "Our discussion today demonstrates how deeply we all share the concern with regard to global climate change, and how much we are all interested in redoubling the international effort to address this issue.” He also referred to low-carbon energy sources, including nuclear power, that currently account for about 45% of Russia’s energy mix. 

Meanwhile, President Xi said: "I am confident that as long as we unite in our purposes and efforts, we will rise above the global climate and environment challenges and leave a clean and beautiful world for future generations."

China’s recently completed 14th Five-Year Plan includes plans to reach nuclear power capacity totaling 70GWe by year-end 2025, according to government officials. The China Nuclear Energy Association reportedly expects the country to have 200GW of nuclear capacity installed or under construction by 2035.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga also revealed plans to cut carbon emissions by -46% from 2013 levels by 2030. The country's Basic Energy Plan, released in 2018, currently aims for nuclear power to provide 20 to 22% of generation capacity by the end of the decade.

Policy

Prior to the summit, on April 21, the European Commission said it will include nuclear power in the EU's sustainable taxonomy under a complimentary delegated act. This will confirm the energy source is as sustainable as other taxonomy-compliant power technologies.

The EC confirmed, however, that the status of nuclear power remains subject to the opinions of two expert groups. Reviews by these groups are expected to be finalised during June 2021.

Nuclear power projections

The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects nuclear power to increase 2% this year, according to projections in its Global Energy Review 2021. The report, released last week, notes that seven new reactors began operating in the second half of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. This more than offsets the three units retired over the same period. 

However, according to the IEA, expected global nuclear operational capacity in 2021 remains slightly below the 2019 level.


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