Climate-Related Opportunities & Risks
Cameco’s board and management understand that our responses to the changing dynamics of climate-related opportunities and risks are central to long-term sustainability and value for all of Cameco’s stakeholders.
We integrate climate-related topics into our governance, strategy and risk management processes, recognizing that climate change is an important and complex business and strategic matter. Cameco is firmly committed to being an active partner in addressing climate change.
Our responses to the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) are detailed in our 2021 ESG Report
Our role in the energy transition
By 2050, the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that global electricity demand will increase by about 75% from 2020 levels. At the same time, concerns about air pollution and climate change are driving demand for zero emission electricity sources.
Backed by more than three decades of safe performance, Cameco is poised to be an important part of this clean energy transition.
Uranium is unparalleled in clean power generation:
- Nuclear reactors emit no GHGs during operation.
- On a life cycle basis, nuclear power emits just a few grams of CO2 equivalent per kWh of electricity produced, similar levels as renewables like wind and solar.
- Uranium is so energy-dense that the used uranium required to generate enough electricity for a person’s lifetime would fit in a pop can. The uranium Cameco sold in 2021 has the potential to fuel the generation of about 384,000 GWh. Generating that amount of electricity from zero emissions nuclear power instead of coal-fired power is equivalent to taking more than 109 million cars off the road for one year⁸ (357 million tonnes of CO₂e).
The IEA has warned that a decrease in nuclear power as part of the energy mix by 2040 would have two significant implications:
- The energy transition would require $1.6 trillion of additional investment over the next two decades.
- A major clean energy shortfall would emerge by 2040.
Nuclear power is a key contributor to all the strategies needed to meet society’s decarbonization goals:
- As we increase variable renewable generation from wind and solar, we need reliable zero emission baseload power to keep the grid stable and performing well through seasonal variations.
- Not every form of zero emission energy (solar, wind or hydro for example) can be moved where it’s needed. Uranium fuel has safely been transported around the world for decades.
- Nuclear power generation is one of the safest energy technologies and has one of the lowest rates of fatalities and injuries per unit of generated electricity and it is the only energy technology with international oversight at the United Nations’ level through the International Atomic Energy Agency.
At Cameco, we believe nuclear power must be an essential part of the energy transition and we are uniquely positioned to support zero emissions and reliable nuclear power growth. We believe our tier-one reserves and fuel services business can safely provide the uranium fuel the world needs as we continue to decarbonize our future.
Wildfires in Saskatchewan
In July 2021, our Cigar Lake operation was threatened by wildfires in the vicinity. Non-critical activities were stopped in an orderly fashion and non-essential workers were evacuated as a precaution. Our on-site Emergency Response Team, supplemented by provincial resources and individuals from our nearby McArthur River Emergency Response Team, worked collaboratively to protect the site by applying retardant, completing backburns to reduce the “fuel” for the fires, and extinguishing spot fires.
To support business continuity, we take measures to address two types of climate-related risks:
- Physical risks (to the business) which could be created by acute (flooding, wildfires and other extreme weather events) or chronic (long term) changes in the climate.
- Transition-related risks which could be related to the transition to a low-carbon economy, such as GHG regulation and pricing, exclusion to green taxonomies, technology risks and reputational/market risks.