OTTAWA, June 30, 2016 /CNW/ – The Canadian nuclear industry is pleased North American leaders have included nuclear in their pledge to have 50 per cent of the continent’s electricity produced by clean sources by 2025. Canada’s clean energy opportunity in North America is bigger than Canadians realize.
“The Canadian Nuclear Association has long demonstrated that nuclear energy is a low-carbon solution to combat climate change,” said CNA President and CEO Dr. John Barrett.
“This week’s announcement by Prime Minister Trudeau, President Obama and President Pena Nieto is recognition that all low-carbon technologies will be needed to achieve the COP21 Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting average global temperatures to a 1.5° C rise.”
“Canada’s nuclear industry is ready to assist in achieving this important commitment. Renewable energy sources will contribute to these goals as well, when they are fully integrated into the baseload clean electricity generation and high reliability that nuclear energy provides today,” he added.
Nuclear power has already helped Canada, the United States and Mexico to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions for decades.
Nuclear reactors provided 60 percent of Ontario’s electricity last year, and 30 percent of New Brunswick’s power, making a national contribution of about 15 percent of Canada’s electricity supply.
In the United States, nuclear energy provided 62 percent of emissions-free electricity in 2014. With 99 reactors, the United Statesoperates the world’s largest fleet of commercial nuclear reactors, and it is building five more.
Mexico has two nuclear reactors generating almost 4 percent of its electricity, and plans to build three more reactors in the next decade.
Even so, the United States and Mexico, like parts of Canada, continue to rely heavily on fossil fuels – mainly coal and gas – to generate power, creating a great opportunity for Canadians to contribute to decarbonization.
“Canada’s energy export opportunity can reach far beyond piping our oil and gas to more markets,” Dr. Barrett said. “And it can be much bigger than the modest and intermittent contribution that renewables are currently able to make. Canadians should know that their own home-grown, clean, affordable and reliable nuclear technology – along with this country’s untapped hydroelectric potential – can meet our whole continent’s pressing need for clean energy.”
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), nuclear energy since 1971 has avoided 56 Gt of emissions – equal to nearly two years of global GHG emissions.
A recent IEA study said that a doubling of nuclear-generated electricity by 2040 would help the world to limit the rise in the average global temperature to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Nuclear power is absolutely critical to domestic and international efforts to remove regulated pollutants from the atmosphere and address the threat of global climate change, while powering economies with reliable, affordable and always-available electricity assets.