Nuclear Power and Secure Energy Transitions

From today’s challenges to tomorrow’s clean energy systems

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About this report

Nuclear Power and Secure Energy Transitions: From Today’s Challenges to Tomorrow’s Clean Energy Systems is a new report by the International Energy Agency that looks at how nuclear energy could help address two major crises – energy and climate – facing the world today. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the disruptions in global energy supplies that it has fuelled have made governments rethink their energy security strategies, putting a stronger focus on developing more diverse and domestically based supplies. For multiple governments, nuclear energy is among the options for achieving this. At the same time, many governments have in recent years stepped up their ambitions and commitments to reach net zero emissions. Nuclear Power and Secure Energy Transitions expands upon the IEA’s landmark 2021 report, Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector. It does so by exploring in depth nuclear power’s potential role as a source of low emissions electricity that is available on demand to complement the leading role of renewables such as wind and solar in the transition to electricity systems with net zero emissions. 

In this context, the report examines the difficulties facing nuclear investment, particularly in advanced economies, in the areas of cost, performance, safety and waste management. It considers the additional challenge of meeting net zero targets with less nuclear power than envisioned in the IEA Net Zero Roadmap, as well as what kind of cost targets could enable nuclear power to play a larger role in energy transitions. For countries where nuclear power is considered an acceptable part of the future energy mix, the new report identifies the potential policy, regulatory and market changes that could be implemented in order to create new investment opportunities. It also looks at the role of new technologies, particularly small modular reactors, and their potential development and deployment.