U-Battery – EC research body confirms positive role for nuclear
28 April 2021
The European Commission’s (EC) Joint Research Centre (JRC), which provides independent scientific advice and support to EU policymakers, has recently completed its review of the nuclear energy lifecycle.
This review determined that there is no “science-based evidence that nuclear energy does more harm to human health or to the environment than other electricity production technologies already included in the European Union (EU)’s Sustainable Finance Taxonomy.” This is a framework that classifies environmentally friendly sources of energy to enable the scaling up of sustainable investment by creating policy security for investors to plan for the green transition.
This review was commissioned by the Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (TEG), which is the EC-sponsored group that is tasked with assisting in the development of this framework. The JRC’s review will help to inform the TEG’s decision to either include or exclude nuclear energy in this framework.
This result is a positive step towards nuclear’s inclusion in the EC framework and helps to pave the way for nuclear energy to be included in the EU’s future policy making, a sentiment expressed by Foratom - the European nuclear trade organisation, and this move which will help generate new investment in the technology.
This announcement was followed by letters from EU Member States - the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic and Slovenia, as well as a call from 46 NGOs, that supported nuclear’s inclusion in this framework. This represents the high level of demand across Europe for nuclear solutions to be considered as part of the decarbonisation challenge. In countries such as Poland, they have identified that nuclear can help their heavy industries transition to Net Zero and enable these countries to meet their emissions targets.
It is in this space that technologies like U-Battery can play a crucial role. U-Battery’s design fits well with the needs of many heavy and energy intensive industries, through the provision of low carbon process heat and reliable energy. We have already identified many such sites and industries in the UK which would benefit from this application, and the likes of U-Battery – an exportable technology – could serve to provide a solution for European nations in the future.
More support for nuclear power will ultimately have a positive impact on the push for Net Zero and we are supportive of the EC taking this important step forward in supporting nuclear power as a decarbonisation solution.
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 Jacobs, Kinectrics and Laing O’Rourke and has received funding from the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's Energy Innovation Portfolio.