A Massive Nuclear Pledge May Be A Global Gamechanger

President Biden is building a coalition that is pledging to triple the world’s production of nuclear energy by 2050.  The U.S. is preparing to announce the coalition with more than ten countries on four continents, already signed on,  in the first major international agreement to ramp up the use of atomic power.

According to Alexander C. Kaufman in “A Massive U.S.-Led Pledge Could Be A Global Gamechanger,” published in the Huffington Post on November 16th, signatories to the pledge, set to be unveiled at the United Nations climate summit in Dubai later this month, include many of the largest current users of nuclear energy such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Romania, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, Japan and South Korea. A handful of “newcomer countries,” countries that have not yet built reactors, including Poland, Ghana and Morocco, are also said to have joined the pledge. 

The plan will put pressure on the World Bank to end its long-standing ban on financing nuclear-energy projects and it will take a match to the plans of many of the worlds largest funders of fossil fuel projects, both banks and institutional LPs, who will find that the global appetite for nuclear power is growing by virtue of pressure to address the problems of climate change, which are being caused by the continued use of fossil fuels. 

(Click to hear Dr. Katy Huff say the U.S. needs to triple its nuclear power to meet its climate goals.)

The Biden White House, according to Jackie Toth, the deputy director of Good Energy Collective, a progressive pronuclear think tank, has adopted what Toth described as a “concerted whole-of-government effort” to “support nuclear energy as an important component of a clean-energy transition.”

According to Kaufman, the nuclear pledge represents one of the most ambitious attempts by the U.S. yet to reassert itself as an exporter of atomic energy technology. For decades, Russia has dominated the export market, with its state-owned Rosatom nuclear company offering a one-stop shop for reactors, uranium fuel and financing. Nearly one-third of the roughly 60 reactors under construction worldwide are Russian designs, including the debut nuclear plants underway in Turkey, Egypt and Bangladesh. Moscow’s virtual monopoly over key types of nuclear fuel has made Rosatom immune to the sanctions the U.S. and Europe have piled on Russian gas, oil and mineral exports in the nearly two years since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began.

[Aside: According to the World Nuclear Association, in addition to the 60 plants in construction, another 110 nuclear power plants are in the planning stages and some additional 300 reactors are being proposed by some 33 nuclear countries or the 30 or so “newcomer countries” that are looking to add nuclear to their energy systems. 

Separately, the US is also working to build an international pact, co-led by the European Union and the UAE, to triple renewables.  President Biden announced an agreement with China to triple world capacity of renewable power during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the U.S. in early November. There are now more than 70 countries that have agreed to the renewable energy pledge. 

Lastly, Biden is trying to build commitments from other nationals for the deployment of carbon capture technology.  In other words, he’s focused on all of the right areas to buttress the world’s clean energy capabilities and to begin to reduce the accumulations of carbon dioxide. Bravo, Mr. President.

Read more at the Huffington Post in “A Massive U.S.-Led Pledge Could Be A Global Gamechanger,” by Alexander C. Kaufman, November 16, 2023.

See more data about nuclear power at the World Nuclear Association.

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