‘Stunning reversal’: Nuclear power has gone from pariah to saviour and Canada could reap the benefits – by Joe O’Connor (Financial Post – April 18, 2024)


Canada’s top uranium producer, used to being overlooked at global climate forums, got front-row billing last year in Dubai. But will this nuclear renaissance stick?

Tim Gitzel was accustomed to being overlooked by the organizers of the United Nations’ annual climate change conference, a.k.a. COP. The meeting attracts a who’s who of the decarbonize-by-2050-or-else crowd to a different city each year, and they bat around big ideas, make lofty pronouncements, set emissions targets and try to hammer out a framework to achieve them.

But Gitzel was never invited to join in the fun. The longtime chief executive of Cameco Corp., the Saskatoon-based mining giant that supplies about 20 per cent of the uranium used to fuel zero-emissions nuclear reactors worldwide, joked that the only way he could get close to COP was to sit in the “McDonald’s across the street” from the meeting. “Nobody wanted to talk to us,” he said. “Nuclear just wasn’t on the agenda.”

Now, just about everybody wants to chat him up, including those at last year’s COP28 in Dubai, where the first-time attendee was given “front-row billing” at a meeting that concluded with 22 countries, including Canada, making a commitment to triple nuclear energy capacity by 2050.

To put that number in perspective, there are 440 nuclear plants worldwide, with another 60 or so new reactors under construction. Multiply by three, and that’s a lot of reactors to build and fuel. In Canada, oil-rich Alberta is giving nuclear a look, as is coal-burning Saskatchewan, while Ontario is midstream in a multi-billion-dollar refurbishment of its nuclear plants that will keep them splitting atoms for decades to come.

For the rest of this article: https://financialpost.com/feature/nuclear-energy-surge-starts-uranium-golden-age