Earlier this week, several newspapers across the European Union (EU) published a letter in support of nuclear energy, jointly signed by 15 Energy and Economy Ministers from ten EU countries, World Nuclear News has reported. The Ministers hailed from Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. They jointly called for nuclear power to be formally included in the EU’s future low-carbon energy mix, and before the end of this year. (The EU now has 27 member States.)
They stressed that decarbonising the EU economy required very rapid and deep changes in the bloc’s production and consumption of energy, in order to slash carbon dioxide emissions. This necessitated greatly increasing the electrification of economic and domestic activities, which would need a massive increase in electricity generation. The development of new low-carbon industries would also increase the future demand for electricity.
“Nuclear energy must be part of the solution,” they wrote. “Renewables play a key role in the energy transition, but we need other sources of carbon-free energy to meet our needs consistently and sufficiently. Nuclear energy is essential. It already accounts for almost half of Europe’s carbon-free electricity production.”
The Ministers pointed out that nuclear energy had been safety and reliably produced in Europe for more than 60 years. There were 126 reactors operating in 14 countries across the continent. It was highly regulated, and, with constant exchanges between the different agencies, the European nuclear industry could guarantee the highest safety standards in the world. This was particularly true regarding the treatment of radioactive waste.
“The European nuclear industry is a leading industry in the world, with unique disruptive technologies,” they affirmed. “Its development could generate nearly one-million highly skilled jobs in Europe. As cooperation between Member States develops, we will soon be able to build new, modern reactors, such as small modular reactors.”
The EU Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth, launched in 2018, excluded nuclear energy. But in April, the European Commission decided to include nuclear energy in a complementary Delegated Act of the relevant EU future energy regulations (known as the EU Taxonomy Regulation), along with natural gas.
“It is essential that our [EU member States'] rights in this area are respected, and that all low-[carbon] energy production technologies are considered fairly,” asserted the Ministers. “It is therefore absolutely essential that nuclear energy be included in the Framework of the European Taxonomy before the end of this year. All the scientific analyses commissioned by the European Commission on the environmental impact of nuclear energy lead to the same conclusion: there is no scientific evidence that nuclear energy would contribute more to global warming than the other energies included in the taxonomy.”