Financing Nuclear New Build Today
Workshop overview

Increasing the contribution of nuclear energy to global production of electricity provides a practical pathway toward reaching ambitious net zero carbon emission targets. The value of nuclear energy as a scalable provider of dispatchable low carbon electricity while also making a significant contribution to the security of energy supplies is recognised in all regions of the world and in a majority of the countries of the European Union. However, in advancing from general support and policy targets to working nuclear power plants, a number of technical, economic, institutional and logistical challenges need to be overcome. In this context, a particularly challenging issue is constituted by the financing of new nuclear power plants. Even if offset by comparatively low economic risks during operations, the high project and financial risks of nuclear new build during the construction phase require de-risking provisions in order to encourage private investors to support projects — especially in the case of first-of-a-kind designs. While the issue is, at least at an intuitive level, understood by a wide range of stakeholders, a generally accepted model for the financing of nuclear new build has yet to emerge.

At this stage of the debate, the workshop on Financing Nuclear New Build Today organised by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and hosted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Czechia, brought together leading experts in nuclear energy, electricity market design and infrastructure financing with decision makers in energy policy. The objective was to present and compare a number of recently adopted or discussed financing models to understand better the allocation they imply for construction and price risks, the degree to which those risks are socialised to be borne by ratepayers or taxpayers, and to which extent they succeed in attracting third-party private investors. While nuclear energy is supported by a fully globalised industry, the focus of this workshop was primarily on financing the construction of new nuclear power plants in the European context. This also included learning from experiences in other regions, in particular North America and East Asia and, developing valuable lessons that can be more broadly shared.

13 June 2024
Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, Na Frantisku 32, Prague, Czechia

Iva PETRICKOVA, Research and Policy Advisor, NEA

Jan Horst KEPPLER, Senior Economist, NEA

Michel BERTHELEMY, Strategic Advisor, NEA

Christie MORLEY, Administrative Assistant, NEA