G7 countries wish to develop a global commercial nuclear fuel market

18th April 2023 By: Rebecca Campbell - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

The five nuclear energy-using member countries of the Group of Seven major democratic economies (G7) on Sunday issued a joint statement announcing their intent to create a global commercial nuclear fuel market. The countries are Canada, France, Japan, the UK and the US. (The other two G7 countries are Germany, which has just closed its last nuclear power plants, and Italy, which closed its last nuclear power plants in 1990.)

“Collaborating on strategic opportunities in uranium extraction, conversion, enrichment, and fabrication supports our collective climate, energy security, and economic resilience objectives,” affirmed the five countries in their joint statement. “This multilateral cooperation would enable us to strengthen our domestic sectors and establish a level playing field to compete more effectively against predatory suppliers.”

This initiative is a response to both Russia’s war against Ukraine and the increasing effects of climate change. These two developments have altered the global energy environment in a fundamental way and necessitated more rapid collaboration between similarly-minded allied countries.

This development followed on from the June 2022 G7 Summit, when the countries’ leaders announced their intention to cut dependence on Russian civil nuclear and related products. This included assisting countries to diversify their nuclear fuel supply chains.

The five G7 countries have now identified their potential areas of collaboration regarding nuclear fuels. The aim is to ensure both a stable supply of fuel for today’s operating reactors, and the development and use of fuels for advanced reactors in the future. 

“This strategic collaboration aims to increase the depth and resilience of our nuclear fuel supply-chains, while supporting the wider geostrategic objectives of further reducing reliance on Russia in the nuclear fuel supply chain for the long term and increasing the availability of commercial free-market alternatives in the supply of civil nuclear technologies to third countries,” explained the joint statement. “The supply of civil nuclear technology, equipment, or materials would be subject to applicable domestic laws, regulations, and international agreements. Canada, France, Japan, the [UK], and the [US] further seek to explore avenues to collaborate in multilateral spheres to advance energy security and economic resilience for partners around the globe.”