Nuclear power was the big winner at last week’s Clean Energy Ministerial in Copenhagen, Denmark, as world leaders joined forces to promote the emissions-free energy source. Canada, Japan, and the United States took advantage of the setting to launch a research and promotional partnership titled Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy Future (NICE Future). The United Kingdom, Russia, Poland, Romania, Argentina, and the United Arab Emirates announced they have also joined the partnership, and at least a dozen additional nations expressed interest in doing the same.
Despite some anti-nuclear opposition in the United States, nuclear power on the global stage is viewed as an environmentally friendly power source. International environmental organizations that promote clean energy typically count nuclear power among clean energy power sources due to its emissions-free power generation. At the 2015 Paris climate accord, for example, India government officials participated in a Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) session and touted the nation’s focus on nuclear power to meet aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals.
Image courtesy of King Lee/World Nuclear Association.
The Clean Energy Ministerial promotes its partnership as “a high-level global forum to promote policies and programs that advance clean energy technology, to share lessons learned and best practices, and to encourage the transition to a global clean energy economy.”
The NICE Future executive summary describes nuclear power as being an important part of clean energy options. The summary’s stated goal is to “provide reliable and resilient clean energy to the global market by making available nuclear energy options for both electric and non-electric applications.”
“Nuclear energy is an important contributor to global clean energy supply, both as a primary source of clean energy and by complementing and enabling other clean energy sources,” the summary explains.
“[I]nnovative applications of nuclear technologies and advanced nuclear energy systems could yield solutions that would further economic growth and support environmental stewardship in both the electric and non-electric sectors,” the summary observes.
“Nuclear energy’s vitally important but under-recognized contributions to clean air are made even greater by constant innovation,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry. “The NICE Future initiative highlights these contributions by reimagining nuclear’s advanced uses and applications. Nuclear provides a cleaner, safer, more reliable and more resilient energy supply for our world.”
“Canada is excited to be a part of this initiative,” added Canadian Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources Kim Rudd. “Nuclear energy is already an important part of Canada’s energy mix and innovative nuclear technologies, including small modular reactors, have a key role to play in the transition to a low-carbon economy. As a non-emitting source of energy, nuclear is, and will continue to be, an important part of our energy mix.”
“I expect this initiative would bring the wisdom of the world on nuclear innovation together, and contribute to policy making for realising clean energy systems that solve challenges in each country,” said Japanese Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Masaki Ogushi. “Our aim is to promote nuclear innovation utilising out-of-the-box ideas from the private sector, pursuing the development of reactors with new concepts, including harmonisation with renewable energy, combined with enhanced safety, efficiency and flexibility.”