Canada cannot reach its climate goals without nuclear energy. The CNWC and other nuclear industry stakeholders were blindsided by the release on March 3, 2022 of the Government of Canada’s Green Bond Framework (GBF), followed by the March 23 announcement of the issuance of its inaugural $5 billion Green Bond. The CNWC is deeply disappointed that nuclear energy was specifically excluded from the list of GBF eligible expenditures. This exclusion was not based on science, it was arbitrary and made without consultation. We call on the Government of Canada to consult with the CNWC and other stakeholders in the nuclear industry with a view to revising the GBF based on science, so that it does not exclude nuclear energy from the list of GBF eligible expenditures.
Nuclear energy is clean, safe and affordable. Last year the UN’s Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) determined that nuclear energy has one of the lowest life-cycle carbon footprints of any generation technology. Nuclear energy was central to the most successful carbon-emission reduction initiative on the continent: closing Ontario’s coal plants and shifting to emissions-free nuclear power.
The Government of Canada is well aware that nuclear energy is now proposed to be included in the European Union’s sustainable taxonomy of electricity production technologies. This is the culmination of a years-long consultative and collaborative process, including the EU’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) that found no evidence that nuclear energy does more harm to human health or to the environment than other electricity production technologies already included in the taxonomy. Closer to home, after issuing its Green Financing Framework in mid-2021, Bruce Power, one of three commercial nuclear energy producers in Canada, announced the issuance of its inaugural $500 million Green Bond in November 2021.
The Federal Government has championed Canada’s nuclear industry. It spearheaded the Team Canada approach to the development of Canada’s Roadmap for Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), which lead to Canada’s SMR Action Plan of 2021. In that context of a shared vision of promoting clean, safe and affordable nuclear energy, the Federal Government has invested millions to advance made-in-Canada SMR initiatives. Contrary to that collaborative approach, the GBF was issued without any consultation with the nuclear industry, or independent expert scientific or energy advice. In excluding nuclear energy, a flawed decision-making process has led to a flawed GBF.
Based on a 70 year legacy of nuclear excellence, Canada today is a top-tier nuclear nation with capabilities from mining and research and development to building, refurbishing and operating reactors and managing waste. The Canadian nuclear industry contributes $17 billion in GDP to the Canadian economy and provides 33,000 direct and 43,000 indirect jobs. As issued, the GBF discourages investment in nuclear energy, putting into jeopardy some of these existing jobs, while forestalling the creation of new jobs in the industry.
We reiterate our call on the Government of Canada to consult with the CNWC and other stakeholders in the nuclear industry with a view to revising the GBF based on science, so that it does not exclude nuclear energy from the list of GBF eligible expenditures.