17.05.2018_No97 / News in Brief

Foratom Boss: EU Is In Danger Of Overlooking The Long-Term Benefits Of Nuclear

Policies & Politics

17 May (NucNet): Nuclear energy provides almost one-third of the EU’s electricity, but there is a real danger that policymakers are ignoring its attributes as a reliable, low-carbon energy source that can work alongside renewables, says Yves Desbazeille, director-general of industry group Foratom.

Yves Desbazeille: “Nuclear energy must be recognised and rewarded for its benefits.”

In an interview with NucNet, Mr Desbazeille said nuclear energy has not found its way into most of the European Commission’s policy initiatives.

He said nuclear should be recognised and rewarded for its benefits. “Whenever we need nuclear to be flexible, working in load-following mode, this needs to be compensated,” he said.

“Nuclear provides security of supply and this also needs to be rewarded. Uranium is cheap, easy to store and its costs are marginal in the total cost of electricity.

“Nuclear provides guarantees against foreign dependency that could jeopardise Europe’s geostrategic standing.”

Mr Desbazeille said political stability is needed for encouraging nuclear new-build and “this does not exist today”. He said the example of Austria lodging a case against the planned Paks nuclear project in Hungary shows how any country can challenge the principle that an EU member state is free to pick its own energy mix.

“This is a very bad signal for any investors. How can a company accept having such a political risk in projects that span several decades?”

Mr Desbazeille said nuclear is not eligible for opportunities to attract cheaper capital such as climate friendly or green funds. He said the nuclear industry believes nuclear should be allowed to pool resources from such financing instruments.

Brussels-based Foratom is the trade association for the nuclear energy industry in Europe. Its membership is made up of 15 national nuclear associations representing nearly 800 companies.

The full interview is online for NucNet subscribers: https://bit.ly/2k3hD2n

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David Dalton

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