Today, the world is facing global warming caused by the accumulation of GHGs in the atmosphere. While several countries have declared a state of climate emergency, they have set themselves the goal of carbon neutrality. Regulated by the States, this objective is subject to new restructuring in the energy market and industries.
In December 2019, the European Commission unveiled its Green Pact for Europe, a flagship plan to make Europe climate neutral by 2050. This goal will be achieved through the European Climate Act, which anchors climate neutrality in binding EU legislation.
Carbon neutrality implies a balance between carbon emissions and the absorption of carbon from the atmosphere by carbon sinks. To achieve net zero emissions, all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide will have to be offset by carbon sequestration.
On October 7, 2019, the European Parliament voted in favor of climate neutrality by 2050 and an emissions reduction target of 60% by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels), a more ambitious target than that proposed by the Commission (55%).
On June 24, 2021, the Parliament adopted the new European Climate Law, which increases the current 2030 emissions reduction target from 40% to 55% and makes the 2050 climate neutrality target legally binding. As proposed by the Parliament, an independent European scientific body will be created to assess progress.
For now, five EU countries have set a climate neutrality target: Sweden aims to achieve zero emissions by 2045 and Denmark, France, Germany and Hungary by 2050.
Convinced of the positive impact of nuclear power in the nuclear transition, Orano is committed to contributing to the Paris Agreement and to the collective effort to become carbon neutral by 2050.
Indeed, the group has already reduced its GHG emissions and has set a new target of a 40% reduction in GHG emissions in 2025 compared to 2015. This performance is the result of the implementation of the most modern industrial processes in the world. These processes contribute to the reduction of the environmental footprint.
It is also the result of technological choices that will be implemented, as in the case of the spent fuel recycling plant at La Hague, with the preferred use of electricity over fuel oil for steam production at the site.
More than 10 projects are currently being studied, with a potential reduction of 80,000 tons.
The group has also set itself the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. This is a real challenge for EDF, and one that R&D researchers will take up on a daily basis.
To achieve this, the group has set itself the following objectives
– To reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all power generation and operating activities to a minimum ;
– To electrify uses as soon as possible to replace the use of energy sources that emit large amounts of CO2 ;
– To deal with the group’s residual CO2 emissions.
To determine the GHG footprint of the various generation methods that make up the EDF Group’s electricity mix, R&D researchers use the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method.
Not all of these sources have the same greenhouse gas footprint. The EDF Group’s electricity mix is currently 90% decarbonized thanks to nuclear, hydraulic, wind and solar power generation, which have zero direct CO2 emissions.
For EDF, one of the levers for decarbonizing uses is to replace energy sources that emit high levels of CO2 with low-carbon electricity.
In addition, there are also natural ways to implement actions in favor of carbon neutrality, for example by planting trees.
EDF’s R&D is conducting research in all these areas to support the Group’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.