The Ukrainian government signed the Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy which was presented at COP28. We condemn this decision and consider it disadvantageous and harmful for Ukraine.
Nuclear power plants (NPPs) are a source of hazardous waste and environmental pollution at every phase of their life cycle. Nuclear projects do not meet the current requirements of environmental sustainability and safety. Moreover, they entail substantial financial risks, that may increase during the construction of new nuclear reactors.
We are convinced that continuing the development of nuclear energy is impractical, and we cast doubt on the feasibility of implementing such risky projects. In our opinion, nuclear energy is not an effective solution to address the challenges of climate change. When evaluating the entire life cycle of a NPP, it becomes evident that it cannot be considered “clean” energy or a climate-neutral option for overcoming the climate crisis.
This Declaration overlooks the environmental and social risks associated with the use of nuclear energy. Such risks include pollution from uranium extraction (a resource that is inherently fossil and finite), as well as the management of radioactive waste, spent nuclear fuel, and general emergency safety concerns.
The Declaration creates a simplistic view by suggesting that tripling nuclear power generation capacity is the only way to achieve global climate neutrality.
Various strategies and combinations of energy sources exist to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Success in achieving global emissions reduction depends on a wide range of strategies and actions at different levels. This includes the widespread implementation of energy efficiency measures in the industry and buildings sectors, along with the rapid development of renewable energy sources, particularly distributed generation at the municipal level.
We believe that our country has neither time nor sufficient financial resources to focus on nuclear energy. Instead of pursuing utopian ideas for the industry’s “renaissance”, the Ukrainian government should concentrate on the following key areas:
- addressing the issue of accumulation of sufficient funds for the safe decommissioning of Ukrainian NPPs;
- protection of these funds from inflation;
- development of energy-efficient measures to reduce energy consumption;
- reforming energy markets;
- creating market and fair conditions for the introduction of renewable energy sources with special priority for small distributed generation.
Meanwhile, Ukraine has also signed the Global Pledge on Renewables and Energy Efficiency at COP28. This agreement calls for tripling the world’s installed renewable energy generation capacity and doubling the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030. Ecoaction sincerely welcomes this initiative as a genuinely sustainable solution for Ukraine’s reconstruction and enhancing energy security amid Russia’s full-scale invasion and continued military aggression.