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European Policy Makers Choose To Ignore Nuclear Energy, Foratom Director Warns

By Kamen Kraev
7 June 2018

7 Jun (NucNet): Nuclear seems to be the “elephant in the room” for many decision makers at EU level, Yves Desbazeille, director-general of Brussels-based industry group Foratom, told a nuclear conference in Varna , Bulgaria.

“European policy makers know that we [the nuclear sector] are around and what benefits nuclear energy brings, but the word ‘nuclear’ is continuously shunned”, he said at a panel discussion organised by the Bulgarian Atomic Forum.

Mr Desbazeille said that maintaining the current share of nuclear energy in the European mix will need around 100 GW of new nuclear capacity to be added by 2050, which is “a very challenging objective” in the current context.

He said there are two ways to address these challenges – investing in more new-build projects, but also ensuring the long-term operation (LTO) of existing reactor fleets in Europe.

According to Mr Desbazeille, Europe will not reach the foreseen share of nuclear in the long run without extending the operation of current nuclear plants.

Mr Desbazeille said: “As we all know, LTO pays off for a number of reasons. It incurs low capital investment costs, it requires a relatively short time for upgrade works and it allows to keep a reliable, low-carbon and affordable source of electricity in the mix.”

LTO will also help keep in place economic benefits and jobs for local communities living close to nuclear power plants, he added.

Mr Desbazeille said Foratom will prepare a long-term vision for nuclear energy in Europe in the upcoming months showing why the current share of nuclear in the energy mix must be at least maintained.

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