WNA calls for sustained investment in nuclear supply chain

The expansion of the nuclear power sector at the speed and scale required to meet net-zero, energy security and sustainable development targets will necessitate sustained and coordinated investment in the global nuclear supply chain, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA).

The findings are contained in its latest report, The World Nuclear Supply Chain Report 2023.

Speaking on the release of the report, Sama Bilbao y León, director general of the WNA said: “Since the publication of the previous edition the report, the outlook for nuclear power has significantly improved. An increasing number of governments are recognising that nuclear energy offers a solution to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions targets, reliably and cost-effectively.”

“Furthermore, concerns about the cost and reliability of gas supplies, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, have focused global attention on the importance of energy security and sovereignty, areas where nuclear power also offers advantages.”

“The ability of the nuclear industry to seize the opportunities of the current energy challenges will depend on several factors, including the capacity of the industry to build and equip hundreds, and potentially thousands, of nuclear power plants efficiently.”

The report makes a number of recommendations to optimise the supply chain, including lowering the cost of the procurement process by strengthening the relationship with suppliers, and employing new business and financing models

Another suggestion is lowering the cost of components by using strategic procurement methods, optimising the use of commercial off-the-shelf components and commercial grade dedication, and using innovative manufacturing and construction techniques in nuclear plant deployment.

The WNA reports also stress the importance of reducing procurement requirements through long-term operation and optimised management of existing plants, repurposing existing infrastructure for new build (eg, using coal-fired plant sites and associated infrastructure), and simplifying plant design and operation.