Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy Future—Creating Opportunities for Cross-Sectoral Cooperation - May 7
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>> Katie: Hello everyone.
I’m Katie Contos and welcome to today’s webinar which is
hosted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Today’s webinar is focused on the nuclear innovation clean energy future, creating
opportunities for cross sectoral cooperation.
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Also, the audio recording of today’s presentation will be added to the YouTube
channel at the link that is provided on this slide.
Today’s webinar agenda is centered around presentations that provide an overview
of the Clean Energy Ministerial and an information on the NICE Future initiative.
Before we launch into the presentations, I will
provide a quick introduction of today’s panelists.
Then following their presentations, we will have a question and answer session where
the panelists will address questions submitted by our audience.
Now I’d like to provide a brief introduction to today’s speakers.
First up I would like to introduce our speakers.
First up with have Diane Cameron who will provide an overview
of the Clean Energy Ministerial and an introduction to the NICE Future initiative.
Diane is the director of nuclear energy in the ministry
of natural resources Canada.
Following Diane, we will have Ken Onishi will tell you
about the current status of the initiative.
Ken is a senior assistant director of the nuclear
energy policy planning division at the agency for natural resource and energy at the ministry
of economy, trade and industry.
And then following Ken, we will hear from Sarah Lennon who serves as the associate –
excuse me – the associate deputy assistant secretary for international nuclear energy
policy and cooperation in the DOE office of nuclear energy.
Sarah will discuss how you and others can engage in this exciting initiative.
And with those brief introductions I’d like to take a moment to pass the controls
over to Diane.
Welcome to the webinar.
>>Diane: Good morning, everyone.
This is Diane Cameron.
I’m the director of the nuclear energy division the federal government
And it’s my pleasure to start us off with our presentation today on the
Nuclear Innovation Clean Energy Future Initiative or as we like to call it the NICE
Future initiative that we are launching under the Clean Energy Ministerial framework this
I’m going to get us started with an introduction to the overall Clean Energy Ministerial
framework or you might hear me refer to it as CEM, C-E-M, Clean Energy Ministerial.
Following a very brief introduction to the CEM framework I’ll provide an introduction
to the NICE Future initiative before handing over the microphone to my colleague
from Japan Kensuke Onishi and he will provide us with the current status of the
And Sarah Lennon from the US DOE will conclude the presentation with opportunities
and a challenge to you and to your organizations to engage with us on the CEM.
So starting first with a quick introduction to the CEM framework.
CEM is an international initiative between member countries.
There are 24-member countries plus the European Commission that have signed on
The member countries represent approximately 90 percent of global annual
clean energy investment and also represent an
estimated 75 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions making this a very important
international forum for addressing climate change and clean energy challenges.
But it’s a unique forum.
It’s characterized by distributed and shared leadership and I’ll
talk about what that means in a moment.
The initiatives are voluntary and collaborative.
Notably there are no negotiated communicates and the framework is very flexible.
So what does this all mean?
This means that countries get together under the CEM
framework in what amount to coalitions of the willing.
So – oh I don’t know what just happened.
I’m assuming someone will alert me if you are unable to see the slides.
So the CEM countries get together in what amount
to coalitions of the willing.
So any individual initiative is launched by and driven
by a subset of CEM member countries.
Those countries that are interested in a particular topic can get organized and launch
initiatives and campaigns around that topic.
There is no consensus text that is negotiated among all CEM member countries.
There’s no negotiated consensus advice.
This is not a forum where countries negotiate commitments
as they do under the COP framework for climate change.
This is a collaborative constructive space where we can get together and
launch initiatives that advance our shared priorities and so that’s what we’re getting
together to do on nuclear energy this year.
The collaborations are quite flexible as I mentioned.
They allow for the inclusion and participation of private sector of civil society
and collaboration with multilateral institutions.
And we’ll get in – we’re bringing all of
those modalities into the work that we’re going to launch on nuclear energy.
There are however annual meetings of ministers.
Ministers have been meeting annually to discuss the initiatives, to receive progress
updates on the initiatives, to adjust course and the launch new initiatives since the first
meeting in 2010.
This year’s CEM meeting in 2018 will take place in Copenhagen in May
And I’ll just note at this juncture that that’s where we’re going to launch
the NICE Future initiative.
And one year later in Vancouver in May of 2019 Canada will proudly
host CEM 10 and we will an opportunity at that juncture having launched the initiative
one year prior to really showcase our progress and to give nuclear as much profile
as we would like to give it when we convene in Vancouver in 2019.
And so, with that brief introduction to the overall framework and
how it works, I’m now going to get into the NICE Future initiative and tell you what
it is that we’re convening to do.
Let me start with setting out a brief rationale for the NICE Future initiative.
Let’s start by simply acknowledging that nuclear energy is
an important contributor to global clean energy supply and that it will continue to
play a role in meeting future clean energy goals.
We all know this to be true but even so strategic planning for future clean energy systems
often doesn’t include discussion about nuclear energy.
Countries get together at CEM.
They get together at COPs.
They get together at Mission Innovation and we talk about
our objectives vis a vis climate change and vis a vis clean energy future but nuclear
energy is often not part of that conversation.
And as a result, there’s a need here.
There’s a need for countries to get together to launch
a dialogue on the role of nuclear alongside other forms of clean energy to bring nuclear
energy to the main discussion.
With this slide I set out a couple of international initiatives or international fora where
countries already get together and talk about nuclear but you’ll notice all of these are
nuclear centric fora.
The Nuclear Energy Agency where 33 countries get together to
advance scientific, technological and legal basis for safe, environmentally sound and
economically uses of nuclear energy.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, where 169 countries participate on safety
and security and negotiated consensus guidelines for promoting those objectives.
Generation IV International Forum, a smaller group of countries, 13 countries plus
Euratom working on R&D for the next generation of nuclear systems.
IFNEC, the International Framework for Nuclear Energy
These are all constructive and useful international fora for discussing nuclear.
But essentially what happens here is countries send their nuclear experts to these
fora and we talk amongst ourselves.
Mission Innovation is a little bit – is related
to CEM and worth noting here.
22 countries and the European Union, Mission Innovation was a commitment
in 2015 for countries to double federal spending on clean energy R&D by 2020.
There are some collaborations but mostly Mission Innovation was about an international
commitment to go home and domestically advance work.
So what this slide is intended to demonstrate is that there is a
niche for CEM.
There is a niche and there is a need to bring nuclear energy to broader
discussions about clean energy policy and clean energy objectives and that is the CEM
This is an opportunity to launch a policy dialogue that cuts across energy sub-sectors
including nuclear bringing it beyond existing fora where we talk amongst ourselves and
amongst nuclear experts and engage the broader clean energy policymakers more
It’s also an opportunity to bring nuclear to a ministerial discussion.
The previous tables that I mentioned most of them are not
being convened at the ministerial level.
it’s an opportunity for collaboration and for knowledge
sharing among coalitions of the willing as I mentioned before.
And at CEM there’s flexibility to include countries in our
initiatives that are not members of CEM.
So there’s incredible flexibility.
Not only can we include member countries that are party
We can include nonmember countries.
We can include private sector, civil society and other international
organizations can contribute as well.
But most importantly it’s an opportunity to reach
across the isle so to speak and to bring nuclear to non-nuclear audiences.
We want to start a dialogue on the role that nuclear energy can play in bolstering
economic growth, energy security and access and environmental stewardship in support
of global clean energy goals.
We want to build the dialogue between nuclear renewables
and other clean energy policy makers and ensure that at the highest level, discussions
about global clean energy policy objectives include and reflect the full set of options
and acknowledge the realistic tradeoff between
The idea here that there is no silver bullet, that there is no perfect solution
and that there is no solution that one size fits
all, that we need to be looking at fact based, evidence based.
And we can be optimistic but we have to be realistic about what our
options are for addressing climate change and
clean energy goals and nuclear has to be part of that discussion if we’re going to be
serious about the discussion.
And so, we’ve scoped out an initiative.
We’ve proposed an initiative that allows for
consideration of the role and contributions of on the one hand full scale nuclear power
for baseload electricity.
Here we’re thinking mainly existing generation three systems and
the important role that they play on existing grids.
But we also want to allow for consideration of next generation and advanced
Innovations that are coming down the pipeline so to speak including
hybrid systems that integrate nuclear and renewables in both electric and nonelectric
So hybrid systems for combined heat and power, small modular reactors and
everything else that is coming down the pipe in nuclear innovation.
We’re proposing to allow, to structure out work, pardon me, around four focus areas.
One activities that promote technology briefings,
technology valuations for policymakers.
Essentially this is about plain language briefings for policymakers so that at the highest
levels policymakers are well briefed on coordinate energy systems, innovative
technologies, storage and uses.
Secondary focus, engagement with policymakers and
stakeholders regarding energy choices for the future.
Third area of focus, economics including market evaluation, market structure
and financing questions especially for next generation nuclear.
And fourth, communicating nuclear energy’s role in clean integrated
In a nutshell all of this, each one of these areas of focus has to do with plain language
briefings about the potential for nuclear, what it is, what it isn’t, what the future
may hold realistically, what it may not hold realistically,
bringing those plain language briefings to new audiences, at the ministerial level, across
the aisle to renewables and clean energy policy makers and to public stakeholder organizations.
And with that introduction to the NICE Future I’d like to now hand the responsibility,
the mic over to my esteemed colleague from Japan, Kensuke Onishi who will
talk to us about the status of the initiative.
Over to you, Ken.
>>Ken: Thank you, Diane.
And hello everyone.
This is Kensuke Onishi from ministry of economy and industry of Japan.
I’d like to talk about the current status of our initiative.
Next slide please.
So we, US, Canada and Japan are conducting the foreign three main
works to prepare for the [inaudible].
Number one, engagement with countries who show
their interest in joining and raise diverse groups and organizations.
Number two, the development of the work plan for the first
Number three, preparing site event at CEM ninth on May 24th in Copenhagen.
I will introduce each of these with the following slides.
Next slide please.
Countries, 13 CEM member countries plus 4 non-CEM members have indicated their
interest in this initiative.
These countries include UAE, South Africa, Russia, Romania,
And we’d like to welcome non-CEM member countries as well such
as the three countries.
Next slide please.
But engagement with diverse groups and organizations are [inaudible] will work a
wide range of organizations which focus on policy
and technology in both nuclear and non-nuclear energy pails.
Our initiative will invite members of industry, research organizations
and civil society such as think tanks, environmental organizations and communities.
Next slide please.
We are preparing a draft program for the first year which describes our areas of activity,
complete activities and operating agency as well as the way to participate in the initiative
for countries and support organizations.
Regarding the areas of activity to advance its
strategy core objectives, the initiative will undertake works in three categories of
Number one, initiate cross sectoral dialogue among experts and energy
policymakers on nuclear energy and energy systems of the future, encouraging
participants to share information, best practices, experiences and perspectives.
Number two, develop and disseminate resources for policymakers including the
development of reports, tools and other resources to inform clean energy planning
programs and decision making.
Number three, building partnerships through outreach
and engagement activities, online platforms, social media and other networks and
audiences to broaden and multiply the NICE future through public facing channels and
The scope of the work plan was focused on both the full scale nuclear for baseline
energy services as well as the next generation technologies including integrated
renewable nuclear energy systems and [inaudible] applications.
In addition, the NICE Future initiative will explore four cross cutting themes.
A, technology evaluations of coordinated energy
systems, innovative technologies, storage and uses, B, engagement of policymakers and
stakeholders, C, economic and financial analysis, D, communicating nuclear energy’s
Next slide please.
Then regarding our specific activities and key deliverables for the first year we expect
the three main pillars, number one, initiate a
cross sectoral dialogue on nuclear energy’s role
in clean energy system.
This category will convene energy experts, policymakers in
industry from across the green energy sector to join a discussion on the current and
potential of nuclear in support of the green energy goals through a variety of conventional
and innovation obligations.
Currently discussions on nuclear energy take place in
predominantly nuclear only forum and they’re the same and then NICE Future initiative
provides an opportunity for a policy dialogue across energy subsectors to bring nuclear
energy beyond existing forum and informs policies more broadly.
In the first year we seek to initiate a cross sector dialogue by hosting a keystone event
or workshop to bring experts, policymakers and
We are currently planning to hold an event at the same time
to be held next year in Canada.
Moreover, Japan will host another meeting called [inaudible]
in November this year and we are considering to have a cohost even with the
Also, we are launching a webinar series to establish a forum for sharing
information and best practices across the clean energy sector.
We would like to have webinars once a month on these various
And second develop and disseminate resources for policymakers.
The goal of this category is to ensure energy policymakers
have access to resources and information on the opportunities and challenges associated
with the full range of options available for meeting clean energy goals.
We will develop tools and resources to provide policymakers
with the information necessary to evaluate the full range of clean energy options
including emerging areas of nuclear technology innovation and potentially applications
for those technologies.
In the first year, we will produce a progress report that captures
current and expected future nuclear innovations and their potential applications in
integrated clean energy systems.
We will also work to include nuclear energy under the
CEM green energy Solution Center’s Ask an Expert service.
Number three, building working groups and partnerships through outreach and
This category will focus on outreach and engagement with broader
nonexpert groups to raise the profile of nuclear sectors green energy contributions.
In the first year, we will seek to achieve this by
identifying opportunities to expand existing clean energy conservations by establishing
partnerships that can be leveraged to [inaudible] our initiative.
And by taking the conversation to other online audiences.
The NICE Future Council is a kind of supporters’ network
for the initiative and Sarah will explain it detail
We will hold the [inaudible] on the initiative at the CEM9 on May
24th on the [inaudible].
The page 20 please.
The program is still under coordination but we assume
the following agenda by representatives of countries mainly US, Canada and Japan.
And working in emerging country perspective.
Remarks by supporting multilateral organizations in industry and research institutions.
And ideation by the [inaudible].
In addition to this we will have a photo session with
heads of delegations at 1:25 PM before the opening of the event as well as one [inaudible]
including for those who join late I would like
to ask the countries taking the [inaudible] to arrive at the venue in time.
Next slide please.
And this is the last slide for me.
And as I mentioned there will be a visual exhibition and introduction by the
Third Way US think tank.
Here I’d like to introduce this picture of it as an example
of the future integrated energy system.
This is called the data center scenario.
The yellow boxes in the middle are advanced nuclear
You can also see solar panels on the roof of the buildings.
Moreover, some space for the addition of reactors are secured
in advance to adjust the power sources in accordance with expanding the capacity of
the data center.
This system would have less concern but fewer transports than the convention
So next US will talk about the way to participate in the initiative.
Thank you very much.
>> Sarah: Ok.
Thank you, Ken.
This is Sarah Lennon from the office of nuclear energy at
the US Department of Energy.
And now that you’ve heard what the initiative is and why
it is, I thought I could talk a little bit about how people and entities could get involved
in our structure that we are currently envisioning
for the initiative.
Next slide please.
So very briefly, our structure, it’s simple, it’s flexible and relatively informal compared
to a lot of other international groups or organizations
As you can see we have our guiding principles.
Well, first NREL who is hosting this webinar, we appreciate their
help as an operating agent already before we formally launch.
And we envision them as an operating agent to continue but there could
be opportunities for other organizations to provide some support in the future as additional
Again, CEM is very flexible in that sense.
So our guiding principles, it’s voluntary.
People or countries can engage in whatever piece they are interested
It’s nonbinding for a country.
One of our key focus or key principles is that this is for shared contributions.
We encourage countries or entities to identify
an idea, a concept, an activity and basically run
They take the responsibility for an activity and that leads to the next principle
which is any participant who comes up with some idea or wants to participate in an
activity, they maintain full authority over the resources they choose to invest in the
initiative and these activities.
And final point is transparency.
We will be using the CEM secretariats and NREL to share information
in a timely, transparent manner and just to reiterate we do not have an authoritative
body saying what should be done or what must be done and not all who join the NICE Future
initiative have to participate in each and every activity.
Whatever suits your needs or interests we encourage.
Next slide please.
So we want people to get engaged.
As Ken mentioned we have developed a draft for our plan for year one.
And it’s a work in progress and we’re happy
to share that with interested folks.
The initiative supports engagement with governments, industry, civil society.
Cross sectoral is one of our buzz words as is flexibility.
So we’re looking to get engagement across different
sectors from governments, academics, nonprofits, industry.
And there are four different areas or ways to get involved.
First bullet there you can see, sharing information.
There could be existing reports that an entity has developed that might not have been
shared or discussed or socialized across sectors that provides technical and economic
information that might relate to one of the four key focus areas that Diane mentioned
We want people to participate in events that we are developing or partner with
other countries and entities to develop other engagements, events or opportunities.
And share – and this is one of the key things.
Sharing outcomes with your own networks, beyond the strictly nuclear networks that we
have been so focused on.
So just reiterating.
Diane mentioned this in the beginning.
I think Ken touched on this.
Cross sectoral, flexibility those are the real key pieces for this
initiative and why we think this is really a fantastic new idea.
Next slide please.
So there are two different ways to get involved, countries and then other participating
For countries, very simple.
They can state their intention at the ministerial or at
the site event that will be taking place in the afternoon of May 24th as Ken just
They can reach out to Canada, Japan or US representatives.
Our contact information is at the end.
And just let us know.
And same thing really for the non-CEM member countries.
Reach out to us and we’d be happy to add you to our list of
Next slide please.
So for industry and civil society little bit different.
We are looking for that kind of engagement to involve written
proposals submitted to the lead countries.
And you can see at the bottom of the slide there
where you can get more information about that and where you could submit proposals.
And these proposals obviously should align with the objectives and the principles of
the initiative and target the key audiences for our
And really activities that might include clean energy stakeholders outside of the
nuclear sector and expand the conversation, take it broader.
Those are the kinds of things that we’re really looking for.
So we really encourage that.
And Diane started out the webinar saying we had a challenge for you and our challenge
Be creative, think outside the box and be innovative.
It’s built into the name of the initiative.
So we know there are a lot of good ideas out there and a lot of great
organizations and networks that we want to tap into and benefit from the work that has
already perhaps been done and look at it and look at it in cooperation with nuclear in
a different way.
Next slide please.
And Ken touched on this briefly.
We are looking to establish a council and the objective
is to work at the strategic level with our stakeholders across the whole clean energy
sector to provide – this council would provide guidance, suggestions and help share and
The council will include people, organizations who are looking
to develop clean energy systems.
Hang on one sec.
Developing clean energy systems, operating these clean energy systems
or we want the end users of the clean energy produced by these systems.
So this could be multilateral organizations, industry.
And one key point, the bottom note there is that the council is not intended to obtain
This is not a consensus-based organization.
Next slide please.
I think I touched on this in an earlier slide but we want the NICE
Future council to look at the alignments of the activities, the alignment of the mission
purpose activities, the value added and the balance of representation is really important.
So we want nuclear and non-nuclear obviously represented on this council.
Next slide please.
And here are some of our brainstorming topics for our webinar series.
These are just initial ideas that we came up with, some organizations
that we’d like to get involved.
But we really want to hear from you.
We are absolutely open in encouraging other topics to
add to our webinar series.
And final slide, you can go there.
And that just has our contact information.
So feel free to reach out to any of us and we look forward to
participation and engagement and questions now I suppose.
Thanks to the panelists for the outstanding presentations.
As we shift now to the question and answer session
I just want to remind our attendees to please submit the questions using the question pane
at any time.
We’ve had some great questions from the audience so we’ll use
the remaining time to answer those.
For the panel, let’s begin with how is nuclear energy
considered to be clean.
>>Diane: This is Diane Cameron from Canada and I can take a stab at this to start.
>>Diane: It’s a great question and it’s a very common question.
So it obviously depends on your objectives and your objectives in
trying to advance clean energy deployment.
From Canada’s perspective, carbon emissions are central to, are a central consideration
in this regard.
So we, in Canada we have included nuclear energy in our definition of clean
For the purpose of our emission innovation pledge and also more broadly.
And the reason we’ve done that is we know we
cannot meet our Paris commitments without nuclear.
Nuclear plays a critical role in displacing large amounts of carbon emissions
from what would otherwise be fossil generation power generation in Canada and around
So that’s really at the core of the matter from Canada’s perspective is the potential
for nuclear energy to replace massive amounts
of greenhouse gas emissions and to help us meet our climate change objective.
That said there are other considerations at play.
When we think about clean energy we have to think
about environmental impact more broadly on land, water and local air quality.
And in this regard from Canada’s perspective, we
feel very strongly that we have an excellent and rigorous track record with respect to
safety and security and we have a plan for long term management of radioactive waste
that protects the environment and protects humans.
So that’s how we have come to the conclusion and we are comfortable promoting
nuclear energy as an important source of clean energy.
>>Sarah: This is Sarah from Department of Energy and I would just echo what Diane
said and just note that nuclear power produces around the clock zero emissions energy,
no pollution, no particulate smog, no nitrogen oxide, sulfur oxide emissions and right
now it generates 60 percent of our carbon free electricity in the United States.
So we definitely consider this a clean energy, clean
Thank you both for answering that.
Our next question from the audience is what are the panelists thoughts
on engaging nuclear fusion research with this initiative?
>>Diane: So this is Diane from Canada.
The initiative certainly does not preclude consideration of fusion as a clean energy
That said this is not an R&D initiative.
So we already have other fora where we advance nuclear R&D.
For example, under Mission Innovation we have a commitment to
double spending on – sorry – clean energy R&D.
And for Canada and for other member countries, some of us have chosen to
include nuclear in that commitment.
We also have collaborations that we advance under
the Generation IV international forum.
Though none of those specifically deal with fusion, they do deal with next generation
nuclear, FNT nuclear, R&D.
We feel that the niche for CEM really brings nuclear briefings to the policy table.
And so, this is about challenging people’s mental
models about what nuclear is and isn’t and informing them with fact based, evidence based
and in earnest about the trade off of nuclear energy options and innovation that
is coming down the pipeline.
So to the extent that fusion energy is an option that’s coming
down the pipeline with a certain deployment timeline in mind, that could be part of the
briefing for policymakers.
So it could be part of the initiative in that sense.
So there’s nothing precluding fusion, but to be clear this is
not an R&D initiative.
>>Katie: Thank you.
Thank you for following up with that.
Our next question is how does nuclear energy compete with renewables
on the up-front financing needs.
>>Sarah: That is actually, I mean that’s a great question.
And that’s a question that we are wrestling with here in the department
and one of the key focus areas for the initiative is to look at exactly that, look at how nuclear
is valued and what kind of market structure would make nuclear more affordable.
Financing options could be discussed and if we
start looking at new advanced reactors, smaller reactors that might be more financeable,
less costly than the current fleet of large reactors, that could change the dynamic as
well and change the competitiveness of nuclear.
So that’s exactly – we don’t have that answer
yet but that is certainly one of the main questions we’re going to be talking about
in this initiative.
>>Katie: Thank you, Sarah.
Our next question is what is the NICE Future initiative
vision for millennials and the next generation of leaders of the nuclear industry?
>>Diane: We want to hear from you.
So if there are participants on today’s webinar that
are part of the international congress of young – I can never remember, young generation
nuclear or the North American Young Generation Nuclear or any other millennial
networks around clean energy whether you’re on the nuclear side of things or on other
energy subsector sides of things.
Our challenge is absolutely directed to all organizations
but especially to next generation.
In Canada we know that the next generation of nuclear
workers and leaders are a passionate group.
They’re passionate about climate change.
They’re passionate about environmental, making an environmental difference.
And so, our challenge to you is take a look at our, at
the concept here.
You know what our broad objectives are.
And think, go back to your organizations, talk about what you might be
able to do.
If you have activities that you can organize and they fit with the priorities
of the NICE Future initiative.
And especially if they reach across the aisle and bring nuclear
and renewables to the same initiative, to the
same table and you’ve built that cross sectoral element into your activity, we would be
delighted to give that activity profile through ministerial process.
>>Sarah: Yes, absolutely.
There was a conference not too long ago where Canada and the
US participated in a dialogue.
It was at the international youth nuclear congress I believe
And there was great interest from millennials and from women’s groups.
I think Women in Nuclear participated.
And we 100 percent look forward to working with
the next generation of leaders for the nuclear industry.
And the grass roots efforts that some of these organizations have already developed
I think is going to be a fantastic way to spread the word about our initiative.
And some of these folks have already sort of seen
the light that nuclear is clean and that dialogue has started in some of those organizations.
So I think the more we spread the word and link up these different organizations, the
better off we’ll be.
And we’ve had a lot of – to follow that question up,
we’ve had a lot of audience members ask how do they get involved in the initiative
and is there a chance to meet people behind the initiative?
And how do they get invitations to these events?
>>Sarah: I believe we have a – or we are developing a website.
We are in the final stages of having this website up and running.
It will probably happen right after the initiative.
But folks can check out.
There are a couple of links in the slide presentation about how
you can get more information.
And there will be a sign-up possibility to be on a
distribution and mailing list, information about upcoming events.
I know we’ve got folks who will be at the site events in Copenhagen
and there should be many different opportunities.
But I would say that the best first start is to sign up for our distribution or
mailing list or reach out to us by email and we can make sure that folks who want to meet
and get involved that that will happen.
Thank you, Sarah.
Our next question is what is being done about the
>>Sarah: Well, I can start that.
I’m sure my colleagues have comments on that as well.
Waste, it’s a vital issue when you’re talking about nuclear but because it is strictly
a nuclear issue and it’s being dealt with
in a number of fora already, it is not a focus of this
Every country that may be participating or interested in joining NICE Future
initiative has different national circumstances.
So while we recognize it’s an important aspect of the broader nuclear picture, for
the purpose of this dialogue, it’s not a focus.
>>Diane: I would just like to add a little bit of nuance around that.
So this is Diane from Canada.
And Sarah is absolutely right to the extent that addressing legal frameworks and
technological frameworks for nuclear waste management or radioactive waste
management is not the central focus of this initiative.
One of the – it’s a little bit like the question about fusion.
We have – we work through the IAEA and through the NEA on
international collaboration with respect to radioactive waste management.
We have domestic regimes for that management and I
would say that the Canadian adaptive phased management approach for radioactive
waste, long term radioactive waste management is something to be benchmarked
It is a very high standard and we have an excellent record and we’re making
excellent progress in Canada on this front.
So all of that is true.
But within the context of the Clean Energy Ministerial and the NICE
Future initiative, part of our objective is to provide plain language briefings to the
public and also to policy makers and to ministers.
And so, we will endeavor to develop products that address those types of questions.
That is frequently the first question that people ask
when you want to talk to them about nuclear and they’re not nuclear experts.
They want to understand about waste management.
And so, while we’re not going to be breaking new ground on waste management under the CEM
initiative, part of our objective here is to make nuclear energy understandable and
accessible to new audiences.
And so that will be part of our challenge.
Thank you both for following up on that.
Our next question is can you expand on how the Department of Energy aids
with nuclear fleet maintenance?
>>Sarah: Nuclear fleet maintenance.
There is a very strong focus within the department and within the office of nuclear
energy to keep our nuclear fleet going.
We are advancing nuclear energy technologies.
We are looking at targeted early stage investments to help ensure a strong domestic
industry now and into the future.
We have a lot of industry informed R&D looking at challenges
to the future of nuclear but also looking at ensuring that our current fleet
can continue providing the excellent clean baseload power that it already does.
We are looking to leverage public private partnerships and we are thrilled with our
partnership with our national laboratory system and looking to develop an advanced
We are looking at how to make the supply chain resilient and
really develop and promote a strong nuclear pipeline for future nuclear reactors.
So we’re looking at the current fleet.
We’re looking at advanced, what comes next and the supply
So those are the three kind of big areas that nuclear energy is focusing on.
Thank you, Sarah.
Our next question is what about the nonproliferation concerns?
>>Diane: This is Diane from Canada.
Yes, what about them?
I’m not sure I understand the question.
I’m not sure I understand the question.
>>Katie: I believe the audience, the question is does the NICE initiative address the
nonproliferation concerns that can cross over between the energy and the weapon use.
>>Diane: I see.
So I would say no.
That is not presently contemplated in the scope of the CEM NICE
Future initiative at least as I understand it or
as it is presently envisioned.
We work at the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy
Agency with I think it’s 169 countries to develop international standards and regimes
for ensuring the highest standards of security
and nuclear nonproliferation and safeguards.
And so, we feel that that is very well in hand through that framework.
And so, this is really about – now so the extent to which
it would be an issue in CEM would be the same answer that we have to the question about
fusion and the question about waste management is that if I, if policymakers have
questions or concerns about security and nuclear nonproliferation we would attempt
to answer those questions.
But really, this initiative is about bringing nuclear energy to clean energy discussions
and making sure that policymakers especially that
are forward looking and developing policies and incentives for the deployment
of low carbon technologies are making those plans in a manner that is well informed by
the full optionality of energy options including nuclear.
So this initiative is not going to break new ground in terms of nuclear security
standards or anything like that.
That is very well in hand through the IAEA.
Thank you so much.
Our next question is what is your view on small
modular reactor companies participating in the NICE initiative and what protocol will
And also, have they become commercially available?
>>Diane: I would be very happy to answer that question.
So again, this is Diane from Canada.
And I would like to take this opportunity to give a hat tip to the Canadian SMR
roadmap which is a domestic initiative that we are convening a pan-Canadian roadmap
that has participation from the federal government, subnational government, industry, our
laboratories, our regulators because we see SMRs as a promising area of nuclear
innovation and an important area where new options are going to become available for
clean energy production.
And so, we think small modular reactors are definitely going to
be part of that space and we would like to make sure that small modular reactors are
a part of the discussion under NICE Future at
So there’s absolutely scope to do that.
Now in terms of how the private sector can participate in the NICE Future initiative,
the challenge is out there to your organizations
to propose activities or activities or events that would advance the objectives of the NICE
They will be looked upon even more favorably if they represent
If you are able to bring something forward that is a collaboration
between the nuclear sector and the renewable sector, for example something that helps to
build that dialogue, then bring your proposals forward and we will be very, very happy to
consider it and give it profile and especially I
think SMRs have to be a part of these conversations.
So don’t be shy about bringing forward an activity around SMRs.
>>Sarah: I would just say absolutely we believe that the SMRs, the dialogue needs to
As I mentioned in the slides earlier on, we’re looking at reactors that
might be more financeable and less up-front cost for a country that might be considering
nuclear power but the cost and siting of a large nuclear power plant or the current fleet
variety might not be feasible.
So perhaps an SMR in the future in the 2020s would make
it more approachable or more reachable for countries looking to develop nuclear power.
And we’re looking at the possible linkage between nuclear reactors and clean, other
So you have a hybrid or integrated energy system where you might have a
reactor that would be teamed up with a hydro plant or wind or solar so that again it’s
more flexible and you might be able to put it in places that wouldn’t be able to host
a larger nuclear power plant.
So absolutely and I echoed Diane’s challenge to come up with some ways to put together
some kind of activity or study or dialogue in the future.
And for the US, I know new scale is expecting design certification I believe
in early 2021.
And then hopefully shortly thereafter they would have a ready to build
model that would be commercially available.
But when that would be commercially available is not really within the purview of the
Department of Energy.
But we are certainly supporting and supportive of SMR efforts.
And I think we can squeeze in maybe one more question today in our final minutes.
What happens to the spent fuel and can it be safely
>>Sarah: I think this goes back to the question before about the waste.
I think countries have – I mean yes it can be safely stored.
Different countries have different approaches and thoughts on this.
Again, this is not one of the focus areas for the NICE initiative
which is trying to get nuclear included in the dialogue of clean, green energy.
There are other organizations that are studying that
issue that are strictly issue.
For example, I know in IFNEC there is a workshop or there’s
a working group looking at the back-end issues.
So the short answer is yes, it can be.
But not, it’s really not part of the dialogue necessarily for the NICE initiative.
Thank you so much.
And thank you again, for that awesome question and answer session.
For any questions we didn’t have a chance to get to, we’ll connect
with those attendees offline after the webinar.
And I’d like to extend a huge thank you to
our expert panelists today and to our attendees for participating in today’s webinar.
We very much appreciate your time and hope in
return that there’s some valuable insights that you can take back to your ministries,
departments or organizations.
I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their day and we hope to
see you again at future NICE events.
This concludes our webinar.