On June 29, 2015, Gordon Campbell, High Commissioner for Canada to the United Kingdom and Lee McDonough, Director, Office for Nuclear Development, Department for Energy and Climate Change signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (U.K.). The MOU is for the purpose of Enhancing Cooperation in the Field of Civil Nuclear Energy.
The U.K. currently operates sixteen nuclear reactors, generating roughly 18% of the country’s electricity. It is expected that, by 2023, all but one of these reactors will have reached the end of their lifecycles and are likely to be retired. In recent years, however, nuclear energy development has become a priority for the UK as a means to secure its energy supply and reduce CO2 emissions.
The U.K. Nuclear Industrial Strategy identified nuclear energy as an essential low-carbon emitting technology that will be used to meet its CO2 emission targets.
This MOU provides two key benefits to Canada:
- Provides opportunities for Canada’s nuclear energy value chain: With near-term growth expected in the U.K. nuclear energy market, the MOU would also provide benefits for stakeholders, including Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), by facilitating stronger industry-to-industry and laboratory-to-laboratory connections.
- Enhance industry-to-industry and government-to-government collaboration: The MOU, through an annual work plan, would provide for collaboration between Canadian and U.K. nuclear energy stakeholders and sets the stage for the exchange of policy related information between NRCan and DECC.
Facilitating industrial and research collaboration with other advanced nuclear countries is one of several actions the Government of Canada is taking to strengthen Canada’s nuclear industry. Other measures include investing $325 million to revitalize research infrastructure at federal laboratories, restructuring Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, modernizing nuclear liability legislation and opening the doors to trade opportunities for nuclear energy in the world’s fastest-growing energy markets.