The Nuclear ESG Push Is On: UK Aims To Put Reactors “At The Heart” Of Its Decarbonization Strategy
October 18, 2021 |The Nuclear ESG Push Is On: UK Aims To Put Reactors "At The Heart" Of Its Decarbonization Strategy
The United Kingdom could be ready to officially put nuclear power back on the map.
That's because UK ministers are planning on putting nuclear power "at the heart of Britain’s strategy to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050," a new report from the Financial Times reveals.
In what is one of the boldest statements about the future of nuclear in a major geographic area, government documents will lay out a "net zero" strategy for the UK as well as a cost assessment of implementing the strategy to meet the 2050 goal.
Then, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to give the documents a "go ahead".
The FT reported on how the project would be funded:
The creation of a “regulated asset base” (RAB) model will be key to delivering a future fleet of large atomic power stations. The RAB funding model is already used for other infrastructure projects, such as London’s Thames Tideway super sewer.
Under the scheme, households will be charged for the cost of the plant via an energy levy long before it begins generating electricity, which could take a decade or more from when the final investment decision is taken.
The mechanism is designed to encourage investment by institutional investors, such as pension funds, by guaranteeing steady returns from early on. Legislation on the nuclear RAB model will be published later this month.
Westinghouse is already taking well to the news, planning to revive plans for a nuclear power plant that was abandoned by Hitachi in 2019, the report says.
Ministers will also be advocating for small modular reactors, which we noted days ago were also key to France's plans to meet net zero carbon emissions goals.
A combination of "nuclear power, renewables and 'carbon capture and storage'" is being targeted for UK's 2035 net zero goal.
The government will also produce costs analyses and broader environmental plans ahead of the upcoming COP26 climate conference in Glasgow at the end of October.
Four days ago we noted that France was also adopting nuclear as part of President Macron's strategy for decarbonization.
Recall, Germany is also trying to stop the decommissioning of its nuclear reactors. A newly penned letter to the FT, signed by professors from Oxford, Harvard and American University alongside a group of environmentalists, is urging that Germany postpone its exit from nuclear energy for benefit of the environment.
Noting that many Germans aren't happy with the job politicians are doing addressing climate change, the letter notes that Germany's "emissions are rising sharply again, at a time when they need to be falling fast".
Recall, just days prior to that we wrote about Poland's second largest energy consumer considering a move to small modular reactors to help generate energy.
Earlier in the summer we posted about how crypto miners were starting to forge partnerships with nuclear power plants to combat the "bitcoin is not good for the environment" argument.