National Nuclear Laboratory


Tuesday 8 November 2022

UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory set to speak at COP27 climate change panels in Egypt  

National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) will be participating in the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27), including two events on Energy Day which will take place on 15 November at Sharm el Sheikh International Congress Center, Egypt.

NNL’s Science and Technology Director, Paul Nevitt, will be participating in a virtual session on 11 November hosted by the World Nuclear Association (WNA) –‘Decarbonization beyond electricity’, and Hannah Fenwick, Senior Commercial Officer at NNL, will also be representing the lab in a Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) talk, ‘The Role of Nuclear Energy in the Hydrogen Economy’ on 10 November.

Speaking in the United Nations (UN) managed Blue Zone where negotiations are hosted, the first session on Energy Day will see James Murphy, NNL’s Chief Strategy Officer participate in a UK Small Modular Reactor (SMR) panel discussion at 10:45-11:30 EET in the UK Pavilion.

Chaired by Hannah Fenwick, in her role as Co-lead at the Nuclear for Climate COP27 delivery team, the session will discuss how the UK is providing an environment where the nuclear sector could support carbon neutrality across the whole energy system. 

NNL will also host an event at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) COP27 Atoms4Climate Pavilion at 15:00 EET – the ‘Global National Laboratories Integrated Energy Systems Collaboration’. This will see the launch of an impact paper, co-authored by the following national laboratories:

  • Canada: Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL)
  • France: The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA)
  • Japan: Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), the Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEEJ)
  • United Kingdom: National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), Energy Systems Catapult (ESC)
  • United States: Idaho National Laboratory (INL), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Paul Nevitt will be at the NNL event to provide an overview of the paper and take part in an expert panel session to discuss the conclusions and recommendations. The paper focusses on how the hybrid mix of clean energy sources, including nuclear and renewables, along with energy storage can meet long-term energy needs and mitigate the climate crisis. Paul will be joined by several senior panel members, including Martin Keller from the NREL in the U.S.

Each country has provided an update on some of the work they are undertaking to enable the massive scale up and innovation required to transition from fossil fuels in transport, buildings and industry, by supporting an expansion of clean energy vectors like electricity, hydrogen and direct heat.

Modelling approaches are reviewed in the impact paper, to understand the complex future requirements for end users – who are placed at the front and centre of each of these models. Their needs can be modelled against existing and future technologies to find a multitude of pathways to reach net zero through an integrated energy system approach.

James Murphy, Chief Strategy Officer at NNL, said: “It is a great privilege to have been asked to be part of a panel at COP27. The UK was the first country to legislate net zero and has put in place a raft of policies and funding to enable the next generation of nuclear technologies that support our goal. This demonstrates how the UK is planning for the implementation of the promises and pledges made in the last 27 years.

“NNL is excited to see that nuclear energy will have such a prominent role at the summit, aligning to this year’s theme ‘delivering for people and the planet’. At NNL, we believe that nuclear energy has a key role in mitigating climate change whilst enabling society to have access to the clean energy it needs.”

More information on the initiatives mentioned:

Nuclear for Climate

Hannah is Co-lead at the Nuclear for Climate COP27 delivery team, a grassroots initiative gathering over 150 nuclear societies and associations with the goal of educating policymakers and the public about the necessity of including nuclear energy among the carbon-free solutions to climate change. It was co-founded ahead of the first COP21 conference in Paris. The initiative brings together professionals and scientists of the international nuclear community, coordinated via regional and national nuclear associations and technical societies.

Global Laboratories Integrated Energy Systems impact paper approaches:

  • In the UK, the focus of the model is cost-optimised decarbonisation at a national level.
  • Canada modelling has taken place at regional and national levels, as well as for specific locations such as a mine and a military base to reduce the reliance on diesel.
  • The CEA in France has been working alongside industrial partners with a focus on the performance and energy efficiency of complex energy systems.
  • Japan’s JAEA is combing four research and development projects under its nuclear and renewable hybrid system including the resilience of the electricity grid, energy supply and advanced nuclear reactors (ANTs) at a local and national scale.
  • At INL in the U.S. stakeholders can use the open-source models to understand their future energy pathways.

Global Laboratories Integrated Energy Systems impact paper recommendations:

  • A focus on nuclear-renewable hybrid systems, with storage and flexibility, supports the decarbonisation of an increasingly electrified energy system.
  • Beyond electricity, broaden the consideration of energy vectors to include heat, hydrogen and synthetic fuel.
  • Deepen engagement with end users to optimize the outputs from integrated energy solutions.
  • Take an integrated approach at multiple spatial scales and ensure consistency between national strategies and local energy planning.
  • Take an integrated approach at each stage of system deployment, from long term planning to operational control.
  • Ensure the integration readiness of physical system components through development and demonstration.
  • Facilitate the economic assessment of integrated energy systems to inform business planning by future owner/operators.