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Climate Action 2009-2010

Creating legal

Creating legal frameworks in emerging nuclear markets ‘NuClear New build’ iN emergiNg NuClear markets has a very differeNt meaNiNg from ‘NuClear New build’ iN aNy CouNtry with existiNg NuClear CapaCity Nuclear new build is not just physical infrastructure; it also calls for the fundamental reappraisal of existing legal frameworks. A comprehensive framework of nuclear laws must be based on three pillars: the international nuclear law, a coherent domestic regime of nuclear law and regulation and special procurement arrangements. In building up from these pillars, the right balance needs to be struck between the needs and expectations of the international nuclear community, sovereign states and the international supply market. In developing their legal framework, emerging nuclear countries face extraordinary challenges but also have an unprecedented opportunity to learn from others’ experience and lead the global nuclear renaissance in certain key ways. International regime Emerging nuclear states will need to obtain the confidence of the international nuclear community. The first step is actively to engage with that community by: committing to non-proliferation and facilitating adherence through a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); obtaining IAEA membership and strengthening co-operation; and ratifying the key international nuclear instruments. Domestic regime The domestic legal framework should be developed based on the following: implementation of international commitments and obligations; international best practice, at a minimum complying with the IAEA Basic Safety Standards; international experience in key areas such as licensing and permitting; and existing domestic legal practices and cultures. The legal framework should establish an independent and robust nuclear regulatory body. Procurement regime There are a variety of approaches to procurement, all of which must consider the unique risk profile for nuclear power plants. A turnkey contracting approach may be favoured due to the lack of domestic human resources. This approach is assisted by the fact that many procurement arrangements involve developer consortiums, comprising the reactor supplier, the civil works contractor and, possibly, the operator and the fuel supplier. The speed at which the legal framework can be adopted is largely dependent on the political will of the state and its legislators, the competence of its external advisers, the capacity of the international supply market and the balance sheet of the development vehicle and/or the liquidity of the financial markets. Conventional, step-by-step approaches are being challenged by states wishing to deploy nuclear power rapidly. At least one emerging market is developing its programme from scratch by launching its request-for-proposal process at the same time as adopting the international regime and developing its domestic regime. A unique opportunity exists in regions where a number of states are embarking on nuclear programmes. These states have the ability to harmonise legal frameworks and co-operate in certain areas such as licensing and permitting and nuclear liability. This would assist in regional deployment of nuclear reactors, help to overcome human resource shortfalls, facilitate transparency and ensure a coherent regional regulatory framework. States in emerging nuclear markets have the opportunity to lead the way internationally through the development of their legal frameworks for nuclear power. A detailed discussion of nuclear new build in the Middle East and North Africa can be found at infrastructure. london Paul Bowden T +44 20 7832 7273 E dubai Joseph Huse M +971 5 0456 4991 E london Jonathan Isted T +44 20 7832 7320 E abu dhabi a msterdam bahrain b arcelona b eijing b erlin b russels c ologne d ubai d üsseldorf f rankfurt am m ain h amburg h anoi h o c hi m inh c ity h ong k ong l ondon m adrid m ilan m oscow m unich n ew y ork Paris r ome s hanghai t okyo Vienna washington freshfields bruckhaus deringer llP

The Isar Nuclear Power Plant, Germany. ENERGY Judge nuclear on its merits © Dr. H-Holger rogner, Section Head, Planning and economic StudieS; Dr. Ferenc l. ToTH, Senior energy economiSt, Planning and economic StudieS; & AlAn McDonAlD, Head of tHe Programme coordination grouP, dePartment of nuclear energy, iaea Nuclear power is a technology that is available today, has very low greenhouse gas emissions, and could be expanded substantially to reduce future greenhouse gas emissions. It is on these features – its merits with respect to climate change – that it should be judged in climate change deliberations. The current exclusion of nuclear power from the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation, indeed the exclusion of any technology with climate benefits, only limits options, flexibility and cost-effectiveness. VERY LOW GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS Figure 1 compares greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the full nuclear power life cycle — mining uranium; making fuel; building, operating and decommissioning the power plant; and dealing with the waste — to life-cycle emissions from other power generation technologies. The panel on the left shows fossil fuel technologies like coal-fired and natural gas-fired power plants. The panel on the right shows non-fossil technologies like wind, solar and nuclear. Note that the scale for the non-fossil technologies is smaller. It only goes from zero to 180 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour (gCO 2 -eq/kWh). The scale for fossil fuels in the left panel goes all the way from zero to 1800 gCO 2 eq/kWh. Figure 1 compiles the results of many studies. The bracketed numbers show how many studies were compiled for each technology. Thus there were eight studies that estimated life-cycle GHG emissions for lignite-fueled power plants, twelve studies that estimated emissions for coal-fired plants, and so on. The black dot in the middle of the coloured bar for each technology shows the mean of the emission estimates for that technology. The bar shows one standard deviation around the mean, and the black lines show the highest and lowest estimates for each technology. Hydropower, nuclear power and wind power have the lowest life-cycle GHG emissions, more than an order of magnitude below fossil-fuel power plants and two thirds below the estimates for solar photovoltaics and biomass. For nuclear power, the mean is approximately 10 gCO 2 -eq/kWh, from 15 estimates ranging from 2.8 to 24 gCO 2 -eq/kWh. However, because of their intermittent nature, many renewables cannot provide reliable baseload electricity. Thus, while wind and solar power can complement baseload generation, they cannot fully substitute for hydro and nuclear power. For nuclear power, most of the GHG emissions come from fuel cycle activities ‘upstream’ of the power plant, including uranium mining, milling, enrichment and fuel fabrication. Most of the variation in nuclear power’s estimates comes from different assumptions about the technologies used to enrich uranium, specifically whether gaseous diffusion or centrifuge technology is used and what electricity source is used to power the enrichment plant. Centrifuge technology needs only two per cent of the electricity needed by gaseous diffusion plants, and if the electricity for enrichment is assumed to come from coal-fired power plants, estimated GHG emissions are high; if it is assumed to come from nuclear power, hydropower and wind power, estimated emissions are low. As centrifuge plants continue to displace retiring gaseous diffusion plants and as more of the power for enrichment plants comes from low-carbon electricity, NUCLEAR ENERGY 139 VISIT: WWW.CLIMATEACTIONPROGRAMME.ORG