Attaining net zero carbon emissions by 2050 will require significant new nuclear power generation to come online in the coming decades. Financing that new capacity is a challenge that concerns both the public and private sectors. Across a range of sectors new approaches and collaboration will be required.
Those were some of the key themes discussed at the Warsaw Conference on Nuclear Financing, the last in a series of events organised by the NEA, the Ministry of Climate and Environment of Poland and the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC).
The conference brought together policymakers, finance industry representatives, and nuclear financing experts for in-person discussions in Warsaw, Poland, on 8 December 2022.
Anna Moskwa, Minister of Climate and Environment of Poland, opened the conference by noting the importance of nuclear power for the Polish energy sector. Poland foresees the commissioning of its first nuclear power plant by 2033 and the Polish government envisages that 20% of the country’s energy needs will be produced from nuclear power by the mid-2040s.
In this context, Minister Moskwa acknowledged the challenges that lie ahead. “We believe that the only answer to the challenges is co-operation. Co-operation when it comes to human resources, technological parts, supply chains and also financing.”
During his opening address, NEA Director-General William D. Magwood, IV, touched on nuclear energy’s role in addressing two of the world’s most pressing issues – climate change and energy security. “When you take the combination of the urgency of the energy security and the desire to decarbonise our economies, it creates a nexus where nuclear energy comes into play. Nuclear energy is the only large scale, dispatchable source of electricity and heat that does not emit CO2,” said Director-General Magwood. He also emphasised the potential of advanced nuclear technologies, such as small modular reactors (SMRs), and nuclear-generated hydrogen, to meet the challenges in the energy sector.
“One challenge that is probably the most pervasive no matter what type of nuclear technology we consider, is financing. Along with these new technologies, we need new thinking about financing,” said Director-General Magwood, noting how both the private and governmental sectors have a role in nuclear financing.
Aleshia Duncan, IFNEC Chair, emphasised the urgency of nuclear new build financing in the context of the current energy security crisis. “[The] conversation about nuclear financing is what we have been doing at IFNEC for more than 12 years. We need to think globally how we are going to finance nuclear projects and how we are going to be able to do that quickly.”
From right to left: Anna Moskwa, Minister of Climate and Environment of Poland; William D. Magwood, IV, NEA Director-General; Aleshia Duncan, IFNEC Chair; Adam Guibourgé-Czetwertyński, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Climate and Environment of Poland; Mike Goff, Co-Chair of IFNEC's Infrastructure Development Working Group. Picture: Ministry of Climate and Environment of Poland
The conference also featured a presentation by NEA Nuclear Energy Analyst Michel Berthélemy on the financing models for nuclear new build based on recent and ongoing projects. The presentation was followed by a roundtable discussion with representatives from Fermi Energia (Estonia), TVO (Finland), EDF Energy (France) and Last Energy (United States).
NEA Chief Energy Economist Jan Horst Keppler presented key insights from the newly published report Financing New Nuclear Power Plants: Minimising the Cost of Capital by Optimising Risk Management. The roundtable discussion that proceeded the presentation brought together researchers and analysts in nuclear finance and economics.
The conference also included a session focused on the roles of different sources of public and private financing for nuclear new build that convened finance industry representatives and nuclear financing experts.
A discussion between government representatives on policy frameworks needed at the national and the European Union levels in order to enable investments in nuclear new build concluded the event.
Watch the conference
NEA-IFNEC Financing Initiative - past events
- High-Level Warsaw Conference on Nuclear Financing
- Contractual Structures and Incentives in Nuclear New Build
- Taxonomies, ESGs and the role of nuclear energy
- The Financing of SMRs, Challenges and Opportunities
- Issues in the Financing of Nuclear New Build - Day 1
- Issues in the Financing of Nuclear New Build - Day 2
- NEA–IFNEC kick-off workshop: Issues in the financing of nuclear new build