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Why are nuclear power projects so challenging

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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 the Financial Times or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: The resurgence of nuclear power globally is driven by goals for net-zero emissions and the quest for energy security heightened by geopolitical tensions, notably Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
However, escalating costs, delays, and technical challenges are widespread, exemplified by the Financial Times report on France urging the UK to cover budget shortfalls for the Hinkley Point C project

🔭 The context: Nuclear energy projects worldwide face multifaceted hurdles, including technical and construction issues, a scarcity of skilled labor, supply chain disruptions, and regulatory and public opposition
The International Energy Agency (IEA) highlights that nuclear power generation needs to significantly increase by 2050 to meet energy and climate goals

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Nuclear power is a low-carbon energy source crucial for achieving net-zero targets
Despite the challenges, its expansion is vital for reducing global reliance on fossil fuels and combating climate change
The geopolitical dynamics of nuclear energy, with significant market shares held by Russia and China, also have implications for global energy security and sustainability

⏭️ What's next: The future of nuclear energy depends on overcoming current challenges, including reducing project delays and costs
Innovations in small modular reactors (SMRs) and increased private investment, as seen from figures like Bill Gates and Sam Altman, may pave the way for more feasible and economically attractive nuclear projects
Additionally, strategic international collaborations and policy support are essential to sustain nuclear energy's growth

💬 One quote: "There’s a fight for talent in the whole energy sector," (Linda Pålsson, head of energy at consultancy AFRY)

📈 One stat: Nuclear projects starting between 2010 and 2020 are on average three years late, indicating the widespread issue of delays in the nuclear sector

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