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International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Fatih Birol on 12 February told the Agency’s Big Ideas speaker series that a "grand coalition" of all stakeholders is needed to address the challenge of climate change, including the energy sector, which it accounts for most of the world's carbon dioxide emissions.

Date: Saturday, 15 February 2020
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Agency 2019 data shows coal still strong in Asia, but on retreat in advanced economies IEA director Fatih Birol speaking at the IEA Ministerial Meeting; Paris, November 2017. Photo courtesy Andrew Wheeler/IEA. Newly released data by the International Energy Agency (IEA) has shown that global CO2 emissions from energy generation flattened in 2019 at about 33 gigatonnes (Gt) mainly thanks to gains in advanced economies* because of the expanding role of renewable sources, a fuel transition from coal to natural gas, and higher nuclear power output.

The IEA said CO2 emissions remained unchanged from their 2018 levels, although the global economy expanded by 2.9%. The data shows that emissions remained largely stable between 2013 and 2016 and then experienced two years of consecutive growth in 2017 and 2018. An IEA chart showing CO2 emissions since 1990 (orange for advanced economies, yellow of rest of the world). Image courtesy IEA.

According to the IEA, increased nuclear power generation in advanced economies, particularly in Japan and South Korea, avoided the release of over 50 megatonnes (Mt) of CO2 in 2019.

Date: Thursday, 13 February 2020
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New-build projects are making progress, but governments are still struggling with finding the right financing package for large reactors The delayed Flamanville-3 is one of three EPR units under construction in Europe. The others are at Olkiluoto in Finland and Hinkley Point in the UK. Photo courtesy EDF. Western Europe

The UK is facing a major challenge to replace its aging fleet of Generation I nuclear power plants, many of which are scheduled to shut down in 2023.

The project by French state utility EDF to build two Generation III EPR units at Hinkley Point C in Somerset is on track for connection to the grid by 2025. Once in commercial operation the two units will provide up to 7% of the total electricity demand. Two similar units are planned for the Sizewell site in Suffolk.

However, press reports have suggested EDF is in “a race against time” to secure a funding deal for Sizewell C as delays risk making the project prohibitively expensive.

According to The Times newspaper EDF has hired Rothschild as financial adviser for the project and says it wants a “definitive way forward” from the government this year so it can start construction in 2022.

Date: Friday, 17 January 2020
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Industry group and IEA have warned of supply problems as reactors are shut down The Mühleberg nuclear power station in Switzerland. Photo courtesyy BKW. The single-unit Mühleberg nuclear power plant in Switzerland ended generation after 47 years in operation on 20 December 2019, utility BKW confirmed.

The company said work on dismantling the 373-MW boiling water reactor unit will begin on 6 January 2020. It will be the first decommissioning of a commercial power reactor in Switzerland.

Since its commissioning on 6 November 1972, the plant has generated about 130 billion kW hours of electricity, which would cover the current consumption of a city such as Bern for more than 100 years.

Plant availability of more than 90% has enabled this, through continual investment by BKW in retrofitting and plant safety, BKW said. “This means that Mühleberg faces deactivation at its highest technological peak.”

The company said financing for the decommissioning and disposal of radioactive waste is in place. BKW will cover the costs, estimated at about 3 billion Swiss francs (€2.7bn, $3bn), in their entirety.

Date: Saturday, 28 December 2019
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Climate scientist James E Hansen and others have written to the Financial Times, making the case for the inclusion of nuclear power in the EU Sustainable Finance Taxonomy. The text of the letter, published yesterday, and the list of signatories to it, follows.

Date: Wednesday, 18 December 2019
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The nuclear industry took part in the UN climate talks this week at a time when the subject is no longer merely climate change, but climate emergency. At a side-event organised by Nuclear for Climate, panellists described how nuclear power is an essential part of the global response to that emergency.

Date: Saturday, 07 December 2019
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Nuclear energy is a mature and proven low-carbon source of electricity, with a 60-year track record of providing reliable and safe operation. Further innovation and technological development will enable even wider applications aimed at deep decarbonisation of economies around the world and supporting sustainable development. This was the message of King Lee, director of the Harmony Programme at World Nuclear Association, to delegates at the UN side event for Sustainable Development Goal 9, held today at COP25 in Madrid.

Date: Wednesday, 04 December 2019
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Ukrainian Prime Minister Alexei Goncharuk on 27 November announced the dismissal of Yuri Nedashkovsky, head of nuclear utility Energoatom.

“It was the initiative of the Minister of Energy and the Environment Alexei Orzhel,” Goncharuk said. He added, “We are now dismissing dozens of people who worked in previous years. In most cases, the reason for dismissal is incompetence and human corruption. He said, “This was long overdue. And there are three reasons for this: the deterioration of Energoatom’s performance, the increase in the number of negative incidents and a procurement investigation with which the deputy of the previous convocation is associated” [he was referring to businessman Nikolai Martynenko, one of the closest associates of Nedashkovsky and of former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

Date: Tuesday, 03 December 2019
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