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COP27 and the role of advanced nuclear

03 November 2022

The 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) will take place in Egypt between 6 – 18 November. Heads of State, ministers, leading figures from across the business community, scientific experts, and climate activists will all meet in Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss energy policy and climate financing, and how the international community can best mitigate and reduce the effects of climate change. 

At last year’s COP26, held in Glasgow, Maria Korsnick, the President of the Nuclear Energy Institute spoke about the coal to nuclear transition, and argued for the siting of modular reactor units at retired coal plants as an ideal way to utilise existing infrastructure and talent to accelerate the clean energy transition. 

However, COP27 is taking place under different geopolitical circumstances. Indeed, Maria’s call to action is now in danger of being lost in favour of short-term solutions to the energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion, which has led to some unforeseen consequences that are detrimental to the global push towards net zero by 2050.

In response to this several countries have understandably undertaken u-turns on their long-standing energy policies, and in some cases have ordered mothballed coal power plants to be fired up to deal with supply issues.

This is just one example of the sort of short-termism we need to address. The ‘just transition’ remains as critical to meeting our net zero goals as ever and advanced nuclear reactors continue to be a crucial part of the solution, able to ensure economic growth while helping hard-to-abate but economically crucial sectors to decarbonise.

COP27 has the potential to be an historic turning point towards a cleaner and more secure future, coming at an ideal time for the nuclear industry as a whole to get the message across that nuclear power is the most reliable and realistic route to net zero, and a key partner to renewables such as wind and solar. At U-Battery, we believe that Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs) like the one we are developing, are crucial for getting more clean power on to the grid before the end of the decade. 

Decarbonisation Day

We are particularly looking forward to hearing from prominent voices at COP27 during Decarbonisation Day on Friday 11th November, and Energy Day on Tuesday 15th November. Decarbonisation Day will explore the emerging technologies that are needed to help global industry decarbonise. We are particularly interested in the discussions that will focus on decarbonising the foundation industries like chemicals, metals and agrichemicals. By providing on-site power and thermal energy, with heat up to 710℃; our reactor has the potential to significantly decarbonise energy-intensive industries and sectors that have been heavily criticised over the past decade for the contributions to carbon pollution.

Energy Day

Energy Day at COP27 will focus on the transformation of our energy systems, and highlight strategies that countries can adopt to improve energy security while advancing the transition to a low-carbon economy. We want to see discussions on Energy Day focus on advanced nuclear as a solution to the energy crisis that does not backslide on promises made at the previous COP. Our AMR offers a low carbon, cost-effective, locally embedded and reliable source of power, and its modular nature means that it can be built quickly and using modern methods of construction.

Once our first-of-a-kind reactor is built - before 2030 - U-Battery will be at the forefront of delivering energy transformation and providing affordable, local and secure energy to hard-to-abate foundation industries.

We firmly believe in the power of advanced nuclear technologies to help the world’s economy and industries decarbonise quickly, safely and fairly. For advanced nuclear technology companies like U-Battery, this COP will be about offering long-term solutions to energy security, and convincing member states that the coal to nuclear transition is pivotal if the world wants a clean, secure and affordable energy future.

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About U-Battery

U-Battery is an advanced/small modular reactor, capable of providing a low-carbon, cost-effective, locally embedded and reliable source of power and heat for energy intensive industry and remote locations. It is being developed by Urenco in collaboration with a number of supporting organisations and has received funding from the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's Energy Innovation Portfolio.

Rebecca Astles, Urenco

T: +44 (0)1753 660660
E: enquiries@u-battery.com

James Watson, Madano (UK)

T: T: +44 (0) 78 0939 0666
E: james.watson@madano.com

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