Source: Small Caps
By: Colin Hay
Date: Aug 25, 2023
The World Nuclear Association has called for significant new investment to meet forecast global nuclear supply chain demand at the same time as a number of nations are looking to change their attitude on uranium mining and nuclear power.
Numerous reports have stated that Sweden, which holds the majority of the uranium reserves in the EU, is about to lift a ban on the mining of the key nuclear fuel.
The Swedish parliament is reported to have changed its attitude on nuclear energy, noting its importance in its aims to create a cleaner energy future and that it is also looking to now be in favour of uranium mining.
Good news for nuclear expansion
The change of heart in Sweden is good news for the World Nuclear Association and its call for an expansion of the nuclear power sector to help the world meet net-zero, energy security and sustainable development targets.
Sama Bilbao y León, director general of World Nuclear Association, said the outlook for nuclear power is significantly improving, but that there is clearly a requirement for further sustained and coordinated investment in the global nuclear supply chain.
“An increasing number of governments are recognising that nuclear energy offers a solution to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions targets, reliably and cost-effectively.”
“Furthermore, concerns about the cost and reliability of gas supplies, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, have focused global attention on the importance of energy security and sovereignty, areas where nuclear power also offers advantages.”
“The ability of the nuclear industry to seize the opportunities of the current energy challenges will depend on several factors, including the capacity of the industry to build and equip hundreds, and potentially thousands, of nuclear power plants efficiently.”
The World Nuclear Association’s latest report on the state of the industry highlighted a number of areas where improvements can be made to the supply chain, including lowering the cost of the procurement process by strengthening the relationship with suppliers, and employing new business and financing models.
Australia nuclear survey
Closer to home, the Federal Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Ted O’Brien, is leading a survey to obtain the view of Australians on the use of nuclear technology.
Through the “Time To Talk Nuclear” web page, Mr O’Brien, says he is seeking feedback for a “mature and intelligent conversation” about the prospect of nuclear energy as part of Australia’s future energy mix.
“There is no greater prerequisite for nuclear energy than consent from the Australian people and this is why we need a national conversation,” he says.
Power system under pressure
The Shadow Minister says Australia’s energy system is coming under growing pressure and as a result, Australian families and businesses will pay the price.
At the same time, he notes that the aim to reduce emissions while delivering low-cost, reliable, and clean energy will require a balance of technologies working together.
“Nuclear energy is one of the world’s most proven sources of zero-emissions energy generation,” Mr O’Brien said.
“That’s why more than 50 nations are considering nuclear energy for the first time today.”
“As Australia seeks to decarbonise, should we also be considering zero emissions, next generation nuclear energy?”
“It’s time to talk nuclear.”
Australia has all the right ingredients
The World Nuclear Association says Australia has all the right ingredients to change its attitude on the use of nuclear energy in its domestic power system.
Australia’s known uranium resources are the world’s largest – almost one-third of the world total and in 2022 it was the world’s fourth ranking producer.
At present, all Australia’s uranium production is currently exported.
The association says that while Australia currently uses no nuclear power, its high reliance on coal and any likely further carbon constraints on electricity generation will make a change of attitude a strong possibility.
It also notes that Australia has the necessary infrastructure to support any future nuclear power program.