The Role of Nuclear Energy in the Global Energy Transition

The scarcity of scholarship on civil nuclear energy as an area of global society, and the specific analysis of wherein nuclear energy positions itself in the global energy transition, represents a gap in energy studies. In the context of the global energy transition, nuclear energy is a core component in the international response to climate change. The purpose of this project is to render a comprehensive narrative that will serve as the platform upon which to approach further enquiries and research into the dynamics of nuclear energy relations, cooperation, development, research, and innovation in this global transition. The research will focus on the following key questions:

  • Why is nuclear energy present in the global conversation on responding to climate change? Who are the states and/or international organisations proposing and opposing nuclear energy as a tool to respond to climate change? Who are the leaders in supplying this tool? Which states are enhancing their presence in this global conversation?
  • What are the challenges in adopting nuclear energy and how are supplier states meeting those challenges? What strategies do they apply and how do those strategies differ?
  • How compatible is nuclear energy with states whose relationship with hydrocarbons is much stronger than with alternative sources of energy? How do these states enter into the discussion and strategy to respond to climate change using nuclear energy? What are the different options available to these states and how are they pursuing them?
  • What is the effect of nuclear energy on international status and the perception of a sustainably responsible state? Is there a nuclear energy club of states? Does adopting nuclear energy enhance or alter a state’s international position?
  • Who are the key actors in nuclear energy cooperation and who is likely to lead over the next decade? What are the distinctive characteristics in their approaches? Do they focus on certain markets or key partners? To what extent is nuclear energy a strategic export (examines potential areas of interest in nuclear energy and the dynamics between states bidding to supply)?
  • What are the most promising nuclear energy programmes globally? What different research, development, and innovation strategies are states adopting?
  • How does the nuclear energy R&D and global supply approach differ between Russia, China, and the United States?
  • Which states/regions are most likely to hold strategic interests in nuclear energy over the next decade? Which types of nuclear energy sources are most attractive to meeting these areas’ response to climate change? Who is most skilled, or advancing the skill, in supplying these types of nuclear energy?
  • How does nuclear energy factor into a sustainable energy mix differently for certain regions than for others?

By: Anna J. Davidson

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Electricity & Nuclear

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