Paris meeting of 16 EU nations calls for increased cooperation
A meeting of 16 European countries as part of a “nuclear alliance” shows that an ever-growing number of EU member states recognise that the bloc needs to support new reactors and renewables if it wants to decarbonise its economy, the director-general of Brussels-based lobby group nucleareurope said.
Yves Desbazeille, who attended the meeting in Paris on Tuesday (16 May) with French energy transition minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher and representatives of 15 other states, said too much time has been wasted on pitching one technology against another.
“Demand for low-carbon electricity is expected to massively increase over the coming years,” Desbazeille said. “So, the EU now needs to move forward with pragmatic and technology neutral policies which focus on achieving our goals: decarbonisation, security of supply and affordability.”
Sixteen countries were represented at the meeting: France, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden and Italy. The UK attended as a guest country. The European commissioner for energy, Kadri Simson, also attended.
The countries called for a European action plan to develop cooperation around nuclear power in terms of skills, innovation, safety, dismantling and waste standards.
Discussions at the meeting were centred on how to build an independent European nuclear supply chain and the need for skills and innovation in “the revival of the European nuclear industry”.
In a statement released after the meeting, they said “nuclear energy provides pilotable capacity and hence significantly secures Europe’s fossil-free electricity supply”.
They called on the EU to “take into account the contribution of all affordable, reliable, fossil-free and safe energy sources to achieve climate neutrality by 2050”.
The statement said nuclear could provide up to 150 GW of electricity capacity by 2050 in the EU, up from around 100 GW today. This would bring benefits including the creation of 300,000 additional, new direct, indirect and induced jobs and an additional €92bn ($100bn) in GDP.
“Thanks to this meeting, the participants sent a clear message on the importance of nuclear in the European energy strategy, both to strengthen the energy sovereignty of the continent and to accelerate decarbonisation and achieve our climate objectives,” the statement said.
“They stressed the need to ensure that Europe continues to reduce its dependence on Russia for nuclear energy and to support similar international efforts, such as those of the G7, to achieve this goal.”