Tuesday, 22 September 2020

UK Government disowns its own nuclear policy…

Below I reveal how BEIS has just disowned a chapter promoting nuclear in the UK by one of its own nuclear scientists. Read on… You wait for a major energy policy speech, and three come along at once! This week has been designated “Climate Week” by the United Nations, to co-incide with the Annual General Assembly meeting, usually held in New York, but this year due to the global Coronacrisis, ministers have made their contributions live via video-link. COP26 President and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma, used his slot to announce a series of new climate commitments (“UK kicks off Climate Week NYC with a series of ambitious climate commitments,” 21 September 2020; https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-kicks-off-climate-week-nyc-with-a-series-of-ambitious-climate-commitments) Alok Sharma Meanwhile, at a related side event, another BEIS energy minister, the peer Lord Callanan, made another speech on behalf of the COP26 President Designate, Alok Sharma, to mark the launch of the COP26 Energy Transition Council, at a forum titled 'Passing the Tipping Point: the next decade of clean energy cooperation '- at a so-called Clean Energy Ministerial side event. ((“COP26 Energy Transition Council launched at Clean Energy Ministerial side event, 21 September 2020; www.gov.uk/government/speeches/cop26-energy-transition-council-launched-at-clean-energy-ministerial-side-event) Lord Callanan Lord Callanan described this event as a “ a significant milestone on the road to COP26 and particularly for the Energy Transition and Mission Innovation 2.0 campaigns,” in stressing “History shows that governments, business and civil society can all play a role in accelerating technology transitions.” The transition from horses to cars was sped forward by innovative manufacturers, road-building governments, and campaigns for safety that led to the creation of highway codes. He emphasised that “ Already we are crossing a tipping point in the power sector. Solar and wind are now cheaper than coal or gas power in two thirds of countries around the world. And it is market forces that are increasingly driving this transition. In the UK, the growth of renewables and a strong carbon price have cut coal’s share of electricity generation from 40% in 2012 to only 2% last year.” He added that he was I announcing “ a new partnership to speed progress on the way to COP26, “ named the COP26 Energy Transition Council, which will bring together leaders of the global power sector, to accelerate the transition from coal to clean power. Damilola Ogunbiyi, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Sustainable Energy, will join COP President Alok Sharma as co-chair of the Council. Lord Callanan announced a £50 million investment in a new Clean Energy Innovation Facility, to “help developing countries accelerate the commercialisation of clean energy technologies, supporting clean growth and a resilient recovery from COVID-19.” He went on to announce that In the UK’s Presidency of COP26, the UK Government will “bring countries together to grow the global markets for clean technologies and sustainable products in three of the sectors that contribute the most to global emissions, adding “ as we enter a new decade, we must abandon the idea that reducing global emissions is a challenge of burden sharing. The challenge, instead, is one of opportunity sharing: working together to accelerate the transition to zero emission technologies that give us cheaper energy, cleaner air, and more jobs and growth” Nadhim Zahawi, the UK's minister for business and energy, spoke at a related event, the week before, to launch a new 154-page report by the Flexible Nuclear Campaign for Nuclear-Renewables Integration (FNC) (https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy20osti/77088.pdf) from the Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy Future (NICE Future) initiative. The report, ‘The Flexible Nuclear Energy for Clean Energy Systems,’ was co-led by the governments of the UK Canada, Japan and the USA - with contributions from a range of companies, NGOs, and other organisations.another of the FNC report's leaders. Zahawi asserted: “Nuclear power has helped the UK to decarbonise its power generation and, in tandem with renewables, the country has cut its CO2 emissions by around 45%, adding "which is why I am so proud that the United Kingdom is one of the nine countries participating in the Flexible Nuclear Campaign, looking at how advanced nuclear can play an important role, alongside renewable energy of course, in a clean energy system" Chapter 10 of the report is co-authored by BEIS scientist, Dr Daisy Day, covers UK policy, with the following contents: U.K. Nuclear Innovation and Research Office: Experience of Flexible Nuclear and the Road to Net Zero ............................................................................................................................................... 59 10.1 Flexible Nuclear in the United Kingdom .................................................................................... 61 10.1.1 Major Energy User Local to Nuclear Plant .................................................................... 62 10.1.2 Energy Storage Systems ................................................................................................. 62 10.1.3 District Heating .............................................................................................................. 63 10.2 Historical Lessons ....................................................................................................................... 63 10.3 Modeling our Future Net Zero Energy System ........................................................................... 63 10.3.1 The CCC Report ............................................................................................................. 64 10.3.2 Energy Systems Catapult ............................................................................................... 64 10.4 The Future of Nuclear in the United Kingdom ........................................................................... 66 The conclusions under the heading ‘The Future of Nuclear in the United Kingdom’ read: “Work in the United Kingdom on achieving net zero has shown the importance of system thinking and the optionality provided by flexible supply and management of energy. Delivering flexibility has synergies with a future hydrogen economy through cogeneration and larger energy storage systems. These systems could be driven by civil nuclear reactors alongside a range of other low-carbon energy sources with the role of nuclear as part of a flexible hydrogen economy becoming much more widely explored. This has been the subject of recent modeling efforts on the U.K. energy system, and the U.K. National Nuclear Laboratory is currently leading a broad scope of work to develop the United Kingdom’s knowledge base on the techno-economics of hydrogen from nuclear energy. In particular, electricity and in the future high-temperature heat from nuclear power stations could be suitable for partnering with a range of hydrogen production technologies. There are similarities with the pumped storage systems deployed in the United Kingdom, historically, as hydrogen is proposed as a chemical energy storage medium to support interseasonal and intraday balancing of electricity supply and demand. In planning the future energy system there is learning to be taken from approaches taken in the past. Cooperation between energy supply technologies and local and national energy demands require collaboration between technology providers and regional groups, operating under market frameworks set at a government level. This not only drives the need for cost-competitive solutions, but also highlights the importance of flexibility of plant output to maximize revenues through several product lines, for example electricity, hydrogen, and heat markets. The picture for flexibility and its role in energy supply, storage, and hydrogen production in the United Kingdom is currently emerging and the precise technologies and deployment models that will comprise a future decarbonized energy system is uncertain. Commercial drivers will determine, for example, whether reactors will be deployed to deliver a single product from a dedicated system, or many; however, flexibility of energy supply from the project and the versatility of reactor technologies and the associated energy conversion systems will be crucial.” It ends with the following extraordinary Disclaimer The views expressed in Chapter 10 do not necessarily represent the views of the UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and none of the information in this chapter shall constitute or form part of, or be interpreted as being or giving rise to any approved BEIS policy or policy proposal So, incredibly, we have a report, co-authored by a departmental scientist, that is both endorsed by a BEIS energy minister and disowned by the department in which he works! Nadhim Zahawi also made the UK presentation to the annual ministerial conference of the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency - by video –on Monday this week, in which he said: “As we look toward COP26 in Glasgow next year, we must put climate at the heart of the recovery from COVID-19. That is why the UK has legislated for achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, recognising the key role of nuclear in achieving this ambitious goal. We have committed £100 million to the development of small and advanced modular nuclear reactors and technologies, unlocking thousands of green jobs.” (UK Statement to the 64th International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference; 21 September 2020https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/uk-statement-to-the-64th-international-atomic-energy-agency-general-conference) Nadhim Zahawi At an on line forum on “Decarboniosing the UK electricity supply,” hosted by the Institute for Public Policy research (IPPR - a think tank linked the Labour Party - held on 22 September, Italian businessman, and the CEO of EDF Energy since November 2017, said that “COP26 should be a moment when the UK can shine an energy beacon…and he wondered whether the UK Government would “have the courage to launch it Small Modular Reactor (SMR) programme” there in Glasgow in November next year. Who knows just what is happening with UK nuclear policy? Endnote: Written Question on: Foreign Investment in UK: Nuclear Power Sam Terry, Labour MP for Ilford, South, asked the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if BEIS would publish the findings of the 2016 security review into overseas nuclear investment. No, came the reply from energy minister Nadhim Zahawi on 21 September 2020, who said: “For reasons of national security, I am unable to publish the security assessments produced to support the 2016 review. However, all investment involving critical infrastructure is subject to thorough scrutiny and needs to satisfy our robust legal, regulatory, and national security requirements. The Government conducted a comprehensive review of the Hinkley Point C project in 2016. The conclusions of the review were set out in a statement made by the then Secretary of State on 15th September 2016, Official Report, Column 1066.” Annex1 UK Business & Energy secretary Alok Sharma’s New York Climate Week announcements, as set out in a BEIS backgrounder. He will confirm that major new companies have joined the Race to Zero campaign to accelerate net zero commitments from businesses, cities, regions and investors, including Ford, the first US automotive company to join; LafargeHolcim, the world’s largest cement company; and global social media company Facebook. Their decision demonstrates the clear momentum behind the shift towards a decarbonised economy. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Lord Callanan, will also be speaking at a special event on Monday, about the next decade of clean energy cooperation. Lord Callanan will announce the launch of the COP26 Energy Transition Council to bring together leaders in the power sector across politics, finance and technology to speed up the transition from coal to renewables in developing countries. The UK will chair the Council alongside the co-chair Damilola Ogunbiyi, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL). Together, members will drive the shift to green energy ahead of COP26. The launch of the Council comes as the UK Government announces a £50 million investment in a new Clean Energy Innovation Facility (CEIF) under the UK’s International Climate Finance. This funding will help developing countries more easily access innovative clean energy technologies to foster clean growth, focusing on key sectors such as industry, cooling, smart energy and storage. Alok Sharma, COP26 President and UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: Climate change affects every single one of us and we all have a part to play to champion climate action ahead of COP26. Through the Energy Transition Council and the UK’s ambitious climate finance commitments, I hope to drive the transition to cleaner energies, and I urge all businesses, cities and regions to join the Race to Zero coalition. Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), said: We cannot achieve the promise of the Paris Agreement or Sustainable Development Goal 7 - access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all - without a clean energy transition that leaves no one behind. Today, just under 800 million people globally lack access to electricity and we must close these gaps with renewable, efficient and affordable solutions. The COP26 Energy Transition Council will play a leading role in supporting countries to move away from fossil fuels and unleash a prosperous, equitable and clean energy transition as they recover better from the pandemic. Ahead of COP26, the UN High Level Dialogue on Energy will support this vision, including through Energy Compacts and multi-stakeholder partnerships that aim to accelerate universal energy transition and access. Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, said: Those involved in the Race to Zero have made a commitment to build that future and to achieve specific goals and will be held to those promises. The world cannot afford to be let down. Nor can this campaign become something that allows nations to defer action until a later date. It’s about needing more climate ambition and climate action now—in 2020. • Michael R. Bloomberg, Founder, Bloomberg LP & Bloomberg Philanthropies, 108th Mayor of New York City • Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, UN Climate Change The event will be convened by Nigel Topping and Gonzalo Muñoz, UN High Level Climate Champions and leaders of the Race to Zero campaign, in a collaboration with the Climate Group, to showcase how the economic net zero transformation is accelerating and highlight the scale of the opportunity to create good jobs, protect public health and level up society. • Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can now join the SME climate hub, a toolkit which makes it easier for them to join the Race to Zero. The hub is run by the International Chamber of Commerce, Exponential Roadmap, and We Mean Business with the support of the UNFCCC. • Lord Callanan will announce the Energy Transitions Council in an event from the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and Mission Innovation (MI), on clean energy cooperation, where he will be joined by other Council members: International Energy Agency Executive Director, Fatih Birol, International Renewable Energy Agency Director General, Francesco La Camera, and Damilola Ogunbiyi, UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All Full list of members of the Energy Transitions Council • Chair: COP26 President, Alok Sharma. Minister Kwarteng as Deputy Chair. • Co-Chair: CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Sustainable Energy for All, Co-Chair of UN-Energy, Damilola Ogunbiyi • International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director, Fatih Birol • International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Director General, Francesco La Camera • World Bank (WB) Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnerships, Mari Pangestu • African Development Bank (AfDB) Vice President Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth, Kevin Kariuki • Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice President for Sustainable Development, Bambang Susantono • International Labour Organisation (ILO) Director of Enterprise, Victor Van Vuuren Funding for the Clean Energy Innovation Facility forms part of the UK Government’s International Climate Finance spend, which refers to UK aid support given to developing countries to deal with the causes of climate change and to prepare for its effects. The UK has committed at least £11.6 billion from 2021/22 to 2025/26. About Race to Zero Race to Zero is the international campaign for a healthy, resilient zero carbon recovery. Led by the UNFCCC Champions for Climate Action, it aims to bring together net zero commitments from cities, businesses and investors across the climate action community in the run up to COP26. Race to Zero collaborates with the following international networks and initiatives, which have independently been mobilising net zero commitments. All of them require their participants to meet the Race to Zero’s minimum criteria: • The Argentinian Network of Municipalities • B Corporations • The B Team • Business Ambition for 1.5 C - Our Only Future • C40’s Deadline 2020 • Chambers Climate Coalition • Fashion Charter for Climate Action • Global Universities and Colleges for the Climate • ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability • Net-Zero Asset Owners Alliance • United States Climate Alliance • Under2Coalition • We Mean Business • The Climate Pledge • TED Countdown Annex 2 Flexible Nuclear Energy for Clean Energy Systems Executive Summary The Flexible Nuclear Energy for Clean Energy Systems report provides a collection of technical analyses that, in the aggregate, demonstrate the current and potential future roles for nuclear energy in providing flexibility in meeting energy demands. For the purposes of this report, flexibility is defined as: The ability of nuclear energy generation to economically provide energy services at the time and location they are needed by end-users. These energy services can include both electric and nonelectric applications utilizing both traditional and advanced nuclear power plants and integrated systems. Power systems around the world are undergoing rapid and significant transformations. Driven by new cost-effective, low-emissions technologies and growing consensus on the need for economy-wide clean energy, the past decade has seen accelerated change and innovation in the ways that humans produce, transmit, and consume energy. These changes are only the beginning. The next decade will almost assuredly bring more innovation and change to advance the use of clean energy across all sectors in order to address multiple global challenges (e.g., universal energy access, energy security, economic recovery, environmental stewardship, climate resilience, and global health). As part of their individual energy transitions, countries are increasingly seeking ways to procure the flexibility needed to ensure reliable, affordable, and clean energy for their economies. Leveraging flexibility and diversity in energy system location, types of energy generation used, timing and scale of production, diverse energy applications, and multiple energy carriers and storage will be essential to achieving economy-wide clean energy transitions. All energy assets can provide flexibility in some way. For example, aggregating and automating the operation of distributed resources, such as distributed solar photovoltaics (PV) or household appliances, using technology that did not exist a decade ago, is leading to entirely new business models and greater energy system flexibility. Nuclear energy is no different. Nuclear energy is experiencing rapid innovation, especially within the last decade. Nuclear energy is quickly increasing visibility for its existing and potential flexible properties alongside its traditional base load roles. While nuclear energy has constraints regarding how rapidly power can be maneuvered up or down, or how low of a power it can be operated at for an extended period of time, nuclear systems offer unique value to key types of system flexibility. Today, nuclear energy already provides certain types of electric system flexibility on the megawatt (MW) to gigawatt (GW) scale in some countries. This flexibility is a valuable resource of clean energy but, to this point, nuclear energy has mostly been used for electricity production. Looking to the future, new innovations will provide ever-increasing types of flexibility from nuclear energy. Both existing and future nuclear plants are being re-imagined as novel sources of not only dispatchable electricity, but also thermal energy and chemical production, through novel integration with energy storage, conversion technologies, and hydrogen production. Several pilot projects are underway around the globe that will revolutionize and diversify the output of currently operating GW-scale systems. Annex 3 Nuclear's flexibility is the 'magic' to create a clean energy future,” https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Nuclears-flexibility-is-the-magic-to-create-a-clea 17 September 2020 Share The nuclear industry has merely scratched the surface of the flexible benefits of nuclear power, according to panellists in a conference held this week ahead of the 11th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM11). The CEM11 side-event, Flexibility in Clean Energy Systems: The Enabling Roles of Nuclear Energy, included high-level speakers from the International Energy Agency (IEA), the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as well as government officials from Canada, the UK and the USA. Hosted by Saudi Arabia, CEM11 will take place on 22 September. (Image: CEM11) The panellists all agreed that, in tandem with renewable energy, the flexibility of nuclear - from existing large-scale plants to advanced designs for small and medium-sized reactors of the future - will enable the transition to a cleaner world and a stronger global economy. Chairing the panel discussion, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said: "Flexibility is the magic word if we want to have a secure but at the same time clean energy future. Nuclear power can both provide clean electricity and also help to have the flexibility that we need in our energy systems, regardless of whether the wind is blowing or we have sunshine." As a resident of Paris, where the IEA is based, Birol pointed to the value of reliable electricity supply in France, where nuclear power plants account for more than 70% of generation. The lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic had reminded the whole world of the importance of electricity, he said, and the uninterrupted supply of low-carbon power from nuclear plants had been a reminder of the value of nuclear energy. "In order to make the markets work, governments need to value, remunerate, this service that nuclear or any clean technology can bring," he said. The premature closure or the decision not to extend the operating lives of nuclear plants in some countries "may well be a major mistake when we look at the scale of the climate challenge we are facing today", he added. The IEA is "closely following and encouraging" innovation in nuclear technologies and small modular reactors as "a very important option", he said, since their size can more easily attract investment. Despite the health crisis and economic shock of COVID in 2020, Birol said he was optimistic about a clean energy future and for three main reasons. Firstly, the costs of solar and wind energy are falling. Secondly, some countries and investment banks are putting monetary policies in place that employ "ultra-low" interest rates, which can help to mobilise investment in those clean energy technologies. And thirdly, many governments are committing to a clean energy future, driven by climate change or air pollution concerns, and also many companies are pushing clean energy technologies for a variety of reasons - pressure from governments, citizens and stakeholders; "or because they want to be in a good position" in the electricity system. "There are enough reasons then, and more, for me and the IEA to be optimistic about our clean energy future," he said. Game changers William Magwood, director general of the NEA, which is also based in Paris, agreed that nuclear power had performed "extraordinarily well" during the pandemic crisis. "We have been able to keep nuclear plants safely operating, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and in some cases longer than they were supposed to work in terms of their fuel cycles," he said. "The exciting thing about advanced nuclear technologies is not that they are smaller and more flexible, which they are, but that they have performance and safety parameters that change the game entirely. We may, for example, with these technologies, no longer require on-site emergency preparedness. This changes the whole conversation around nuclear in many places," he said. "Some of these technologies provide not just electricity, but also heat. It's often forgotten that industrial processes that use heat today from natural gas or coal are actually a tremendous contributor to CO2 emissions. We can address that problem using high-temperature reactors that can replace fossil fuel in providing industrial heat and also residential heat as well." The need for low-emission energy alongside economic growth is not just a matter for developed countries, he stressed. "There's the OECD countries, most of which are part of our membership, which have their electricity and want to keep it, but also there's the many countries around the world, in Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia, that aspire to bring more and more of their people into the middle class," he said. "We cannot delay their aspirations because of our environmental concerns. To have a clean environment and have economic expansion, we believe that nuclear, along with other technologies such as wind and solar, provide the pathway to get to that." Team players "The IEA has a bird's eye view; I'm just a nuclear guy, but we try to be team players and contribute to the efforts towards a decarbonised economy from our perspective that nuclear has to have a place at the table," said Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the IAEA. "2019 was the second-highest year ever for nuclear electricity production. This year, during the first few months of lockdown, we were able to see how nuclear energy worldwide continued without a single interruption; we even had a case of an earthquake in one of our Member States where a nuclear power plant was operating and there was no glitch." Grossi reminded the audience that currently there are as many as 31 countries operating nuclear power plants, which provide 10% of global electricity supply and one-third of low-carbon power. "So, contrary to perceptions in some quarters, especially here in Western Europe, the use of nuclear power continues to grow," he said. "Some 30 countries on top of the 31 are actively preparing for nuclear power programmes. Fifty-three nuclear reactors are under construction in 19 countries, of which nine are in nuclear newcomer countries." Innovation in nuclear is very important for the sustainability of the industry and its ability to continue making a clean energy contribution, he said, because the benefits of small and medium sized reactors to emerging economies and developing countries are clear. The IAEA, which is an agency of the United Nations, based in Vienna, holds data on the designs of advanced reactors, which include, Grossi said, 72 different SMRs, three of which are at the construction stage - in Argentina, China and Russia. The IAEA is holding its Scientific Forum next week. This is held in parallel with the agency’s annual General Conference. This year, Grossi said, the forum will study the role of nuclear in the clean energy transition. He said he shared Birol's optimism. The nuclear industry faces many challenges, including finding sources of finance, "but the elements for a decarbonised, sustainable energy future are there", he said. “Events like this are proof of that and they contain lots of support for which I'm very grateful." Flexible Nuclear Campaign The event was held the day before the launch of a new report by the Flexible Nuclear Campaign for Nuclear-Renewables Integration (FNC) from the Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy Future (NICE Future) initiative. The report, The Flexible Nuclear Energy for Clean Energy Systems, was co-led by the governments of Canada, Japan, the UK and the USA, with contributions from a range of companies, NGOs, and other organisations. Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan, who helped launch the FNC last year, at CEM10 in Vancouver, said integrating nuclear with solar and wind energies "brings together the best of nuclear with the advantages of renewable energy to deliver a low-cost, resilient, clean energy system". "We need to invest in all kinds of clean energy technologies if we’re going to meet our climate goals. That's what we're doing in Canada and nuclear energy is front and centre. In fact, we've crunched the numbers and there's simply no credible scenario for Canada to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 without it. And Canada is in a position to lead. We are a Tier 1 nuclear nation. We have world-class safety and regulatory systems and our Candu technology is being used around the globe," he said. "Canada is also a pioneer of SMRs, essentially small, flexible, safe and affordable reactors that can be transported where they're needed, when they’re needed. This will help us bring nuclear into new parts of the economy, allowing us to decarbonise resource extraction industries and remote communities. Soon we'll be unveiling our SMR action plan, developed in lock-step with our domestic partners, provinces and territories, power utilities, industry, investors, laboratories, media, civil society and indigenous people." The NICE Future Initiative, he noted, is an international partnership launched at CEM9 in Copenhagen with the goal to place nuclear energy at the heart of all multilateral clean energy discussions. "It's great that nuclear is front and centre of the CEM gathering but it should also be part of the conversation at so many other international gatherings," he said, including for example Globe 2020, the sustainable business summit and innovation showcase in North America, and the World Energy Congress, the global flagship event of the World Energy Council. "Quite simply, we should all be ambassadors for nuclear energy," he said, "raising its profile, touting its benefits and, most importantly, underscoring again and again and again the fact that nuclear is safe, because it is." Time for action Rita Baranwal, assistant secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy in the US Department of Energy (DOE), said the FNC report reflected the need for CEM11 to be about "action and not words" and readers of the report will learn how nuclear power and renewables can be "mutually enabling" in clean energy systems. Over the past few years, the DOE has provided over USD205 million to 35 public-private projects for advanced nuclear reactor technologies. Most recently, Baranwal's office has provided USD230 million to establish an Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program to support the completion and demonstration of new advanced nuclear reactors in the next five to seven years. "I'm proud of the FNC efforts, led by the governments of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Japan, and the support of the environmental NGOs. This report highlights the work of many scientists, researchers, engineers, operators and policymakers around the world on the subject of flexibility," she said. "In the case of nuclear energy, these flexible services mean having the operational flexibility to produce non-emitting, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, electricity as well as load-follow to meet needed demand. It means being able to produce a variety of products, like direct heating of households, driving industrial processes, producing hydrogen for transportation and for storage, and desalinating and purifying water. And it can be deployed in a variety of locations and applications. As an example, here in the United States, the DOE is currently working with four utilities to support the design and implementation of hydrogen demonstration projects using current nuclear power plants that could open up new regional markets for the industry." Two of these demonstration projects will operate at an Exelon nuclear plant and at the Davis-Besse power plant within one to two years. "One of the key takeaways of the report is that nuclear energy is already more flexible than many of us thought. There are many years of experience in flexibly operating nuclear plants. Its full potential can be realised by integrating with variable electrical grid infrastructure to create new hybrid energy systems, producing new products, new services and value, ultimately leading to new jobs, driving economies and lowering emissions," she said. The urgency of action over words was underlined by Nadhim Zahawi, the UK's minister for business and energy, another of the FNC report's leaders. Nuclear power has helped the UK to decarbonise its power generation and, "in tandem with renewables", the country has cut its CO2 emissions by around 45%, he said, "which is why I am so proud that the United Kingdom is one of the nine countries participating in the Flexible Nuclear Campaign, looking at how advanced nuclear can play an important role, alongside renewable energy of course, in a clean energy system". "The UK's Energy Systems Catapult has modeled hundreds of ways of achieving net zero and they show that advanced nuclear could contribute significantly to a low-cost decarbonised energy system. A recurring feature in these models is the value of flexibility to balance the energy system and compensate for the intermittency of renewable energy. This is of course one of the great benefits of nuclear but it is also one that is often overlooked, so I’m very pleased to see that flexibility is the focus of the technical report," he said. "Looking beyond the immediate benefits, there is also the exciting potential to use high-temperature nuclear technologies to produce cost-competitive clean hydrogen. A massive opportunity meaning we could use nuclear to decarbonise long-distance transport, industry, heating as well as the power sector," he added. At CEM10, the UK government published a brochure for policymakers, reflecting its "enabling framework" for advanced nuclear technologies, for which it will have provided investments of almost GBP500 million (USD645 million) between 2016 and 2021. This year, it has invested GBP40 million in projects focused on designing advanced modular reactors and up-skilling the country's regulators. Up to GBP30 million of this has been awarded to Tokamak Energy, Westinghouse Electric Company and Urenco under Phase 2 of the advanced modular reactor feasibility and development programme. "But I know that we do not make these decisions in a void, nor is government investment the only factor in success. One of our greatest sources of success in this field is international collaboration which is why signing our nuclear cooperation action plan with Canada, our R&D action plan with the United States, and our clean energy memorandum cooperation with Japan, were such positive steps," Zahawi said. As the host of COP26, the United Nations' next round of climate talks, to be held in Glasgow in November next year, the UK's "major focus", he said, will be "decarbonisation and getting more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions from every country, so that as a global community we can make further cuts in carbon emissions by 2030". He added: "I have no doubt this will take a lot of effort on the part of every participant, but I wholeheartedly believe that this COP will be a chance to achieve some truly remarkable things. Until then, I hope that we can continue to share our experiences and expertise in nuclear to help drive the global decarbonisation agenda forward, and I'm pleased to think that under the Clean Energy Ministerial, and within the Flexible Nuclear Campaign, we will keep building a better, cleaner future together." The full panel discussion can be watched here. Related content • United Nations General Assembly 2020

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