IEA says invest in nuclear to cut emissions; Australian MPs push for nuclear; IAEA advice for nuclear newcomers

Our pick of the latest nuclear power news you need to know.

IEA report says invest in nuclear to cut carbon emissions

A new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) says global carbon emissions could soar if advanced economies continue to cut their nuclear power capabilities.

Nuclear Power in a Clean Energy System says advanced economies such as the US and Europe could lose as much as 25% of their nuclear capacity by 2025, and two thirds by 2040. These figures are based on ageing nuclear power plants approaching end of life, political policies to phase them out, and other factors including economic and regulatory.

The IEA report says this could result in an additional four billion tonnes in CO2 emissions. This is the first report from the IEA to address nuclear energy in more than 20 years, as it aims to put nuclear power back on the clean energy agenda.

“Without an important contribution from nuclear power, the global energy transition will be that much harder,” IEA Executive Director, Dr Fatih Birol, said.

“Alongside renewables, energy efficiency and other innovative technologies, nuclear can make a significant contribution to achieving sustainable energy goals and enhancing energy security.

“Governments should recognize the cost-competitiveness of safely extending the lifetimes of existing nuclear plants.”

The IEA report was released during the 10th Clean Energy Ministerial in Vancouver, Canada.

Australian MPs push for nuclear

A group of Australian MPs are pushing for a motion in the country’s Senate to investigate the introduction of nuclear power, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The move comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he had “no plans” to end a ban on nuclear power generation, despite the topic being raised regularly as Australia looks to tackle the effects of global warming.

Australia has a third of the world’s uranium deposits but has never had a nuclear power station. It currently has one research reactor.

According to the newspaper, Queensland MP Keith Pitt and Senator James McGrath (both of the Liberal National Party) are behind the push.

“I am not saying there is a nuclear reactor coming to a shopping center near you but we have to be able to investigate all options,” Pitt was quoted as saying.

“All I am calling for is an enquiry as to whether it’s a feasible option to ensure we are up to date with the latest information.

“If you want to have your cake and eat it too you have to look at every option.”

Back in April, PM Morrison seemed to suggest he was open to the idea of nuclear power stations in Australia, before posting ‘this is not our policy’ on social media.

IAEA advice for nuclear newcomers

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has issued a publication that can help nuclear newcomer countries with their nuclear energy programme implementing organization (NEPIO).

Responsibilities and Functions of a Nuclear Energy Programme Implementing Organization outlines practical responsibilities, functions and activities that national authorities can use as guidance.

First issued in 2009, this revised publication takes into account lessons learned in newcomer countries like Kenya and Belarus.

“There are many ways to structure a NEPIO and several could result in the successful execution of all functions and activities,” Sean Dunlop of the Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section of IAEA said.

“The 2009 publication focused on a single approach: it assumed that a NEPIO would be a new organization established specifically to manage the nuclear power programme, and we see this working well in some cases. In other embarking countries the government’s responsibilities and functions are discharged effectively by interagency policy committees and working groups rather than a single, stand-alone organization.”

The publication defines specific activities NEPIOs may carry out in relation to infrastructure issues including a government’s national position on nuclear power to the procurement of items and services for the first nuclear power plant.

The Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB), for example, serves as Kenya’s NEPIO. It is currently responsible for coordinating all aspects of Kenya’s nuclear power programme. Other institutions will be established, or appointed, in specific roles as the programme advances. These include the nuclear regulatory body and the future owner/operator of the nuclear power plant.

Belarus is completing construction and preparing for operation of its first nuclear power plant. Belarus’ NEPIO is organized on two levels. A high-level Inter-departmental Commission for Nuclear Power Plant Construction, headed by the Deputy Prime Minister, meets monthly to discuss major issues and monitor programme implementation. The Nuclear Energy Department of the Ministry of Energy coordinates day-to-day issues and long term sustainability.

Nuclear Energy Insider