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The IEA praises Canada’s efforts for the clean energy transition: Nuclear Policy

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January 14, 2022

Canada’s electricity system is among the cleanest in the world, thanks to hydropower and nuclear power, has found a policy review by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Launching the report on January 13, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol praised Canada’s leadership in developing small modular reactors (SMRs) and expressed the agency’s support for the Canadian government’s “ambitious” clean energy transition.

Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson speaking during the online presentation of the IEA report

The IEA regularly conducts in-depth reviews by member countries’s energy policy colleagues, a process that the agency says supports the development of energy policies and encourages the exchange of international best practices and experiences. Canada 2022: Energy Policy Review was designed following an in-depth virtual review that took place in February 2021, when the IEA team met with Canadian government officials, energy companies, interest groups, research institutions and other stakeholder organizations, with information on developments subsequent policies collected by government and private sector resources.

Since the last IEA review in 2015, Canada has made a number of international and domestic commitments to put the country on a path to transforming its energy system, the report said. Canada’s electricity system already emits 83% – thanks to the “dominance” of hydropower plants and an “important role” for the nucleus – and among the cleanest in the world, and the nation has set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at 4045% by 2030 from 2005 levels and to reach zero emissions by 2050. “Canada has shown impressive leadership, both at home and abroad, in the clean and equitable energy transition,” he said. Birol.

Policy measures including a carbon pricing scheme, clean fuel regulations, commitments to phasing out uninterrupted coal use by 2050, extending the life of existing nuclear power plants and measures to decarbonize the transport sector are already in power. The role of nuclear power is recognized as fundamental to achieving and sustaining Canada’s climate change goals, with the core being seen as a long-term source of basic load power supply and SMRs being considered a top priority.

Canada has been for many years a “cornerstone” of secure global energy markets and is now a leader in the clean energy transition, Birol said, but there is still work to be done to build on the progress made so far. The report makes some policy recommendations to achieve this, but Birol chose to highlight three: identify precise paths to net zero by 2050 for Canada’s energy system and develop national emission reduction strategies for key sectors; reducing “upstream” emissions in the target and gas sectors; and increase federal funding to accelerate R&D and innovation in clean energy technologies.

“I would also like to emphasize here and appreciate Canada ‘s leadership in the context of small modular reactors … in all of these and other areas, we at the IEA are very pleased to support the efforts of the Canadian Government as it undertakes an ambitious clean energy transition, Birol said.

The report recognizes Canada’s ambitious efforts and historic investments to pave the way for zero emissions by 2050 and ensure a transition that meets the target of limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C, said Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources , Jonathan Wilkinson.

“Let me be clear: this review matters,” he said. “Canada faces challenges and opportunities that are unique … Canada is blessed with an abundance of natural resources that position us as a global leader in clean energy. We have ample land for solar and wind farms, large water systems for hydroelectric energy, geological formations [that could be used] for the seizure of trapped carbon, minerals critical to clean technologies, uranium needed for nuclear energy and important traditional energy sources. a regional level region, and this is the focus of government.

Nuclear recommendations

Nuclear is the second highest source of electricity generation in Canada after hydropower, accounting for 8.9% of total power supply and 15% of total electricity generation in 2020.

The report makes some policy recommendations that are specific to the core. These are: to assess the long-term contribution that the existing Candu nuclear fleet and new nuclear construction, particularly SMRs, can play to meet Canada’s zero zero climate targets for 2050 through electricity and low carbon heating; provide “timely” federal support for ongoing SMR projects being discussed at the provincial level, ensuring that the required policy reforms are in place to allow licensing and construction of the first demonstration projects expected later this decade; to promote international cooperation, in particular the international licensing of innovative SMR technologies and the use of Candu technologies; and supporting the Nuclear Waste Management Organization in its mandate to select a site for a deep geological depot by 2023, ensuring that options remain open for potential fuel recycling “if the need arises and / or opportunity “.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News



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