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If COP28 keeps its word, it leads to more nuclear energy

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Forbes or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: At COP28, 22 countries pledged to significantly increase their nuclear energy usage by 2050, aiming for it to account for a third of global electricity 
• This aligns with the broader commitment by approximately 175 nations to triple renewable energy use by 2030 and reduce fossil fuel reliance 
• These commitments mark a potential shift towards nuclear energy as a key component of the global energy mix

🔭 The context: Nuclear power offers a carbon-free, reliable energy source that can complement intermittent renewable energies like wind and solar 
• However, large-scale nuclear plants have been historically expensive, prompting a shift in focus to small modular reactors (SMRs) 
• SMRs offer flexibility and cost-effectiveness, with the potential to be combined into larger units and deployed in existing coal plant sites, which could reduce overall costs

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The increased use of nuclear energy, particularly through SMRs, could play a critical role in global decarbonization efforts 
• This shift can aid in reducing reliance on fossil fuels and support the integration of renewable energy sources, thereby contributing to the mitigation of climate change impacts

⏭️ What's next: The development and deployment of SMRs are key to this nuclear energy expansion 
• Despite setbacks, such as the terminated deal between NuScale and the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, progress continues in the sector, with new projects and designs emerging globally 
• The transition from coal to nuclear, especially in coal-dependent communities, offers a path to revitalizing these areas while reducing carbon emissions

💬 One quote: "Utilities know they need new nuclear and admit the numbers do not work without it" (Julie Kozeracki, U.S. Department of Energy)

📈 One stat: 80% of coal facilities have the necessary infrastructure to host small modular reactors, potentially reducing construction costs by 15-35%

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