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New CATF report proposes solutions to reimagine global ecosystem for nuclear energy deployment

December 8, 2023 Work Area: Advanced Nuclear

Clean Air Task Force (CATF) launched a new report — Nuclear Energy at Scale — today which proposes a suite of commercial and regulatory solutions that together provide nuclear energy with a new pathway to future success. 

“Nuclear energy can help tackle the global challenges of climate change and human development by delivering secure, abundant, carbon-free energy to millions of people worldwide,” said Armond Cohen, Executive Director of Clean Air Task Force. “However, that promise has been hindered by flaws inherent in the existing ecosystem that countries rely on to deliver new nuclear energy — slowing both the pace and scale of deployment. This report fundamentally reimagines the nuclear energy ecosystem with a suite of new institutions and solutions that can create a brighter pathway to new nuclear energy generation.” 

Launched at COP28 in Dubai just days after 22 nations committed to tripling global nuclear energy capacity, the report provides solutions that can help enable the changes needed to turn that ambition into action. This nuclear commitment has subsequently been embraced by more countries, bringing the total to 24 with the second week of COP28 still to come.

The six mutually reinforcing solutions that together can reduce cost and increase confidence from investors are:  

  1. Productization: Shift from slow, expensive mega-projects to standardized, manufactured products to reduce costs. 
  1. Large Orderbooks: Aggregate demand for repeat builds of the same design to achieve cost reductions. 
  1. Plant Delivery Integration: Establish independent nuclear development organizations (INDOs) to streamline project development and deployment. 
  1. Harmonized Global Licensing: Create a Global Licensing Authority (GLA) to provide globally accepted Design Acceptance Certificates (DACs). 
  1. Technical Support for New Nuclear Nations: Form an International Technical Support Organization (ITSO) to assist first-time nuclear countries in overcoming licensing barriers. 
  1. Broader Financing Access: Establish an International Bank of Nuclear Infrastructure (IBNI) to provide financing and support for nuclear programs. 

“Our analysis indicates that a combination of the solutions in this report could result in an overnight cost reduction of as much as 60% from ‘first-of-a-kind’ to ‘Nth-of-a-kind’ reactors,” said Carlos Leipner, Global Director for Advanced Nuclear Energy at Clean Air Task Force. “And while smaller reactor designs may lend themselves better to productization, these solutions are not specific to reactor types or technologies. Indeed, the only essential elements for embarking on this new pathway and unlocking the potential of nuclear energy are the courage and commitment to do so.” 

The report was unveiled by Leipner during an event at CATF’s Zero-Carbon Future Pavilion. The event featured a panel of government representatives and industry experts including Kathryn Huff, Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, U.S. Department of Energy; Henri Palliere, Head Planning and Economic Studies Section, IAEA; Michel Berthelemy, Chief of Staff & Nuclear Strategic Policy Advisor, OECD NEA; Stephen Yamoah, Executive Director, Nuclear Power Ghana; Ana Birchall, Special Envoy for Strategic & International Affairs, Nuclearelectrica, Romania; Stephen Comello, Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Energy Futures Initiative (EFI); and Ross Matzkin-Bridger, Senior Director, Nuclear Materials Security, Nuclear Threat Initiative.  

The event also highlighted the Global Playbook for Nuclear Energy Development in Embarking Countries, a joint work product of CATF, EFI Foundation, and the Nuclear Threat Initiative, unveiled earlier at COP28, which outlines options for — and pathways to — the responsible, sustainable, and effective development of new nuclear projects and industries in nuclear newcomer countries. 

With Nuclear Energy at Scale and the Global Playbook, CATF aims to contribute to a global push for new pathways toward a world in which nuclear energy plays a meaningful role in global decarbonization. 

Press Contacts 

Troy Shaheen, Communications Director,  [email protected], +1 845-750-1189  

Rowan Emslie, Communications Director, Europe, [email protected],  +32 476 97 36 42  

About Clean Air Task Force  

Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a global nonprofit organization working to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. With 25 years of internationally recognized expertise on climate policy and a fierce commitment to exploring all potential solutions, CATF is a pragmatic, non-ideological advocacy group with the bold ideas needed to address climate change. CATF has offices in Boston, Washington D.C., and Brussels, with staff working virtually around the world.    

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