newcleo and LSE announce partnership to support energy economics and policy research

Posted on 23 Oct 2023 by The Manufacturer

newcleo, the Gen-IV nuclear technology company, and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) have signed a five-year partnership to conduct advanced research into the economics of energy policy.

The initial interim findings will be published next year and will assist governments across the world in making evidence-based policy decisions on how best to deliver efficient approach to clean and safe sustainable energy solutions.

LSE will work to explore the economic benefits of technological innovation in facilitating the energy transition, driving clean economic growth and creating the good jobs of the future. Global power generation needs to triple by 2050, and this partnership – the first of its kind for the LSE – will build a strong understanding of the most economically beneficial clean energy sources, as ongoing geopolitical events also continue to accelerate the need for both diversification and security of supply.

This long-term partnership will see newcleo support energy economics research and impact at LSE, with funding worth  €1m (£900,000) over five years. The agreement includes the appointment of three new postdoctoral Fellows in LSE’s Department of Geography and Environment, who will focus on critical areas of study, such as the economics of the energy transition; the economics of decarbonisation; the role of nuclear energy in achieving a sustainable energy landscape; energy market reform, and the geopolitics of energy supply and fossil fuel markets.

While LSE has world-leading programmes around the economics of climate change and the environment (for example, through the Department of Geography and Environment and Grantham Research Institute), this groundbreaking new partnership will boost the LSE’s capacity in the burgeoning field of energy economics. This is an area of the social sciences gaining increasing focus, as policy-makers prioritise and shape the energy transition and secure a path to ‘net zero’ emissions.

Key objectives of the agreed activities include the strengthening of LSE’s programmes on the economics of environmental, climate and policy, which create policy-relevant research, and support for the next generation of researchers in energy economics. The partnership will also tap into LSE’s convening power, with extensive links to policy-makers, Parliament, finance and business, an unparalleled public events programme and location in the heart of London. newcleo’s funding will be critical to achieving these objectives and strengthening LSE’s existing programmes.

Launched in September 2021 and headquartered in London, newcleo is working to deliver innovative small-scale nuclear reactors to provide the world with a safe and stable power source, whilst significantly reducing existing volumes of radioactive ‘waste’ and plutonium, to be used as fuel. This will also end the need for further uranium mining, for the long-term benefit of communities and the environment. The first step of newcleo’s delivery roadmap is the design and construction of the first-of-a-kind Mini 30Mwe Lead Fast Reactor (LFR) to be deployed by 2030, rapidly followed by a 200 Mwe commercial unit.

Welcoming the partnership, Professor Susana Mourato, LSE Vice President and Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research) said: “We are delighted to join forces with newcleo, a company at the forefront of nuclear energy innovation. The social sciences have a key role to play to ensure an effective transition to sustainable, clean and affordable energy solutions, so that future economic growth does not come at the cost of climate and environment.

“This partnership aligns perfectly with LSE’s commitment to address global challenges through impactful social science research and collaboration. It presents a unique opportunity to develop new talent and cutting-edge research, supported by our renowned faculty and the expertise of the newcleo team, and bringing together energy and environment leaders, policy-makers and businesses.”

Celebrating the partnership, Stefano Buono, newcleo Chairman and CEO, commented: ”We are very excited to have signed this partnership with LSE, our first with an economics university, following a number of other agreements to cooperate with UK institutions on technical and scientific areas. As a company based on science and research, we are proud to be first to fund and support an LSE programme of work that will provide invaluable insights on the economic benefits of energy transition innovations. The findings will undoubtedly be used to inform energy policymaking by governments and organisations across the globe.

We are confident that the research will provide compelling evidence that new nuclear technologies should play a central role in the environmentally and economically sustainable and secure energy future we all strive for.”

Also commenting on the newcleo – LSE partnership: Lord Ravensdale, Co-Chair of Legislators for Nuclear (a cross party parliamentary group), said: “Energy security is one of the great global challenges of our generation and universities are the life-blood of the UK nuclear industry’s skills base. It is therefore very good news that the LSE and newcleo have agreed a partnership to develop greater understanding of the UK’s energy landscape and nuclear power’s role in providing safe, affordable and domestic energy.”

Charlotte Nichols, MP and Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Nuclear Energy, said: “Nuclear is fundamental to the UK’s energy future and will create jobs and investment across the country. It is therefore heartening that a private business and academia are collaborating to drive the UK’s expertise in energy economics and new nuclear power to make this ambition a reality.”

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