An alliance between the UK, US, Canada, Japan and France, aimed at displacing Putin from the international nuclear energy market, has been announced in Sapporo, Japan today.
The five nations will leverage the respective resources and capabilities of each country’s civil nuclear power sectors to undermine Russia’s grip on supply chains. This agreement will support the stable supply of fuels for the needs of today, as well as guarantee the safe and secure development and deployment of fuels for the advanced reactors of tomorrow.
This agreement will be used as the basis for pushing Putin out of the nuclear fuel market entirely, and doing so as quickly as possible, to cut off another means for him to fund his barbaric attack on Ukraine and fundamentally leave Russia out in the cold.
The agreement will also strengthen our respective nuclear energy sectors, which is key to boosting our domestic energy security and bringing down electricity bills for British families. Nuclear fuel is needed to operate nuclear power stations, that provide around 15% of the UK’s electricity supply with an aim for it to make up 25% of our electricity supply by 2050.
Speaking at the G7 Energy Ministers’ Meeting in Sapporo, Mr Shapps said how this, alongside investment in cleaner, cheaper and more secure renewable energy sources, will be a key part of making the UK energy independent.
Within days of the illegal invasion of Russia, the UK acted immediately to place sanctions on the country’s oil, devastating a lucrative revenue stream for the regime.
Today’s agreement at the Nuclear Energy Forum at the G7 in Sapporo will build on this, acting as a springboard for these five countries to make swift progress, ensuring the secure supply of uranium fuel through the development of shared supply chains that isolate Russia. The Energy Security Secretary wants these countries to come together to address dependencies on Russian fuel as the world turns increasingly to nuclear as a source of low-carbon and secure energy.
Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps said:
The UK has been at the very heart of global efforts to support Ukraine, defeat Putin and ensure neither him nor anyone like him can ever think they can hold the world to ransom over their energy again.
This is the next vital step, uniting with other countries to show Putin that Russia isn’t welcome anymore, and in shoring up our global energy security by using a reliable international supply of nuclear fuel from safe, secure sources.
But this is one side of the equation – the other is the need to invest in clean, cheap and secure energy sources, and our Powering Up Britain plan will do just that.
We must stop being reliant on expensive and imported fossil fuels and focus on smarter energy solutions. The UK is already a world-leader when it comes to renewables, a fact recognised by the investors I have met in the Republic of Korea and Japan this week.
In flying the flag for UK PLC, I want to be crystal clear that the expertise we have from having the four biggest wind farms off our shores is available to support countries looking to invest in their supplies – something that will benefit them, create green jobs and opportunities at home and boost energy security around the world.
And I want us to work ever-closer together with countries like Republic of Korea and Japan as we invest more in nuclear technologies like Sizewell and Small Modular Reactors, opening up opportunities to invest in the UK and with it, the job opportunities in our local communities.
The UK is already taking proactive steps in this space, including through the Nuclear Fuel Fund which launched in January. It will provide up to £75 million to ensure the UK has the fuel production capabilities needed to support a nuclear renaissance, backing the government’s ambition to secure up to 24GW of nuclear power by 2050.
The UK has many decades of expertise in nuclear fuel production, which plays a vital role in supporting the energy security of the UK fleet and those of international partners.
At the summit, all nations also agreed to accelerating the phase-out of unabated fossil fuels – with a particular focus on coal, by agreeing to work together to stop new unabated coal plants being constructed – a G7 first.
This is backed by new collective targets for the use of offshore wind and solar energy – for the G7 to increase offshore wind capacity by 150GW and solar PV to 1,000 GW by 2030. The UK will account for a quarter of the offshore wind target, which we are already on track to meet. In addition, the UK has driven forward progress in the phasing out of petrol and diesel cars in the G7, with the group committing to 50 per cent zero emission vehicle sales in cars and vans by 2050. The UK is already far ahead of this, having committed to phase out the sales of diesel and petrol cars by 2030, and all major manufacturers have committed to selling 100% ZEVs by 2035.
Together, today’s G7 commitments deal a blow to Russia, demonstrating the international resolve to isolate Putin further internationally. As more countries move away from fossil fuels and towards renewables, this will cut off a vital income stream for his regime once and for all. It also means the greater use of cheaper, cleaner and more secure energy sources will boost energy independence, shield the UK and others from volatile international fossil fuel markets and – ultimately – cut the cost of supplying power to homes, and therefore people’s bills.
The G7 comes at the end of a week in which Grant Shapps has been in Republic of Korea and Japan, meeting ministers and potential investors to fly the flag for UK PLC – becoming the first Cabinet Minister to visit those countries since negotiations closed on the UK’s accession to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, of which Japan is a member.
The Energy Security Secretary has also been highlighting how other countries can reap the benefits of the UK’s world-leading action in renewable technologies, hiring UK firms to support their efforts to achieve greater energy security and independence.
This would also create even more green jobs and economic opportunities at home and put the country in prime position to make the most of CPTPP membership.
The UK has cut emissions faster than any other G7 country – and last year were ranked alongside the US as one of the top four most attractive markets for renewable energy investment. Nearly 40 per cent of the UK’s power was generated from renewable sources last year.
Notes for editors:
The full statement from the UK, Canada, France, Japan and the US can be found below.
STATEMENT ON CIVIL NUCLEAR FUEL COOPERATION BETWEEN CANADA, FRANCE, JAPAN, THE UNITED KINGDOM, AND THE UNITED STATES
Canada, France, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States share common visions of democracy as well as safe and secure global economic and energy systems. Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable war against Ukraine and the increasing impacts of climate change have fundamentally altered the global energy landscape and accelerated the need for collaboration between like-minded allies. In the June 2022 Group of Seven Leaders’ Communique, our Leaders made clear our collective intent to reduce reliance on civil nuclear and related goods from Russia, including working to assist countries seeking to diversify their nuclear fuel supply chains.
To this end, Canada, France, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States have identified potential areas of collaboration on nuclear fuels to support the stable supply of fuels for the operating reactor fleets of today, enable the development and deployment of fuels for the advanced reactors of tomorrow, and achieve reduced dependence on Russian supply chains. This multilateral effort would aim to recognize and leverage the unique resources and capabilities possessed by each country’s civil nuclear sectors to establish a global commercial nuclear fuel market. Collaborating on strategic opportunities in uranium extraction, conversion, enrichment, and fabrication supports our collective climate, energy security, and economic resilience objectives. This multilateral cooperation would enable us to strengthen our domestic sectors and establish a level playing field to compete more effectively against predatory suppliers.
This strategic collaboration aims to increase the depth and resilience of our nuclear fuel supply-chains, while supporting the wider geostrategic objectives of further reducing reliance on Russia in the nuclear fuel supply chain for the long term and increasing the availability of commercial free-market alternatives in the supply of civil nuclear technologies to third countries. The supply of civil nuclear technology, equipment, or materials would be subject to applicable domestic laws, regulations, and international agreements.
Canada, France, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States further seek to explore avenues to collaborate in multilateral spheres to advance energy security and economic resilience for partners around the globe. We welcome the announcements made at G7 this year of additional action in support of this goal.