Countries Launch a Nuclear Innovation Initiative under the Clean Energy Ministerial


Countries Launch a Nuclear Innovation Initiative under the Clean Energy Ministerial

May 24, 2018 – At the 9th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM9) meeting today, a new nuclear innovation partnership was announced under the leadership of the United States, Canada, and Japan. Called “Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy Future (NICE Future),” the initiative will, for the first time, put the spotlight at CEM on nuclear energy in clean energy systems. U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette, Canadian Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources Kim Rudd, and Japanese Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Masaki Ogushi launched the NICE Future initiative today at the Ninth CEM in Copenhagen, Denmark.

NICE Future initiative will address improved power system integration through innovative, integrated, and advanced energy systems and applications, such as nuclear-renewable systems, combined uses of heat and power, hydrogen production, and industrial decarbonization. It will highlight the opportunities for nuclear energy technologies to reduce emissions and air pollution from power generation, industry, and end-use sectors.

“I would like to acknowledge the countries and organizations that have joined the United States, Canada, and Japan in the creation and launch of the NICE Future initiative,” said Deputy Secretary Brouillette. “Secretary Rick Perry and I are quite proud of this initiative and the ambitious program it sets forth. Having nuclear included at the Clean Energy Ministerial will create greater global recognition of its many unique benefits.”

Nuclear energy is an important contributor to global clean energy supply, both as a primary source of clean energy and by enabling other clean energy sources. Globally, nuclear energy produces nearly one-third of the world’s emissions-free electricity. The International Energy Agency has also found that global nuclear energy generation would need to double from current levels by 2040 to meet global clean energy goals.

“Nuclear energy’s vitally important but under-recognized contributions to clean air are made even greater by constant innovation,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “The NICE Future initiative highlights these contributions by reimagining nuclear’s advanced uses and applications. Nuclear provides a cleaner, safer, more reliable, and more resilient energy supply for our world.”

“Canada is excited to be a part of this initiative. Nuclear energy is already an important part of Canada’s energy mix and innovative nuclear technologies, including Small Modular Reactors, have a key role to play in the transition to a low-carbon economy” said Kim Rudd, Parliamentary Secretary to Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. “As a non-emitting source of energy, nuclear is, and will continue to be, an important part of our energy mix.”

Japanese Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Masaki Ogushi stated, “I expect this initiative would bring the wisdom of the world on nuclear innovation together, and contribute to policy making for realizing clean energy systems that solve challenges in each country. Our aim is to promote nuclear innovation utilizing out-of-the-box ideas from the private sector, pursuing the development of reactors with new concepts, including harmonization with renewable energy, combined with enhanced safety, efficiency, and flexibility.”

Several NICE Future initiative participants and stakeholders gathered on the sidelines of CEM9 for a launch event, moderated by Mr. Denis Janin, immediate past President of the International Youth Nuclear Congress. He highlighted the importance of innovative nuclear technologies and integrated energy systems: “This issue is vital for our planet—we need to get it right for the next generations. All available clean energy systems have a role to play. Nuclear energy is key in clean energy innovation especially as nuclear power plants do not emit air pollutants.”

Others noted nuclear energy’s strategic benefits. “Nuclear energy in the UAE plays a strategic role as a clean energy source that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector, diversify our energy portfolio, and is already creating highly-skilled employment opportunities which support long-term sustainability,” pointed out Dr. Matar Al Neyadi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“This initiative will help spur exchanges on technology development, expanding innovative, clean energy options that can grow our economy and advance our energy security,” emphasized Michał Kurtyka, Poland’s Secretary of State, Ministry of Energy. Secretary Kurtyka is also the Government Plenipotentiary for the Polish COP 24 Presidency.

“Today’s pivotal global initiative continues an essential dialogue on the role of nuclear in the clean energy systems of the future,” said Richard Harrington, Business and Industry Minister of the United Kingdom. “Advancing innovative technology in nuclear will enable us to continue this momentum, and it is crucial that nations are coming together in this way to share expertise around this dynamic clean energy technology.”

Countries participating in the NICE Future Initiative include the United States, Canada, Japan, Argentina, Poland, Romania, Russia, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. More countries have indicated strong interest. The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) have noted their interest and support for the initiative. The U.S. DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory will serve as an initiative operating agent.