30 Nov (NucNet): The nuclear energy industry in Europe has welcomed the European Commission’s 2050 energy plan saying it is “delighted” that the EU recognises nuclear as a low-carbon source of electricity capable of reducing Europe’s dependence on fossil fuel imports and ensuring security of supply.
Foratom, the Brussels-based group which represents nearly 3,000 European companies working in the industry, said nuclear can contribute to an ambitious decarbonisation of the European economy. “By taking a step in the right direction, the commission has demonstrated a real commitment to reducing CO2 emissions across Europe,” the group’s director-general Yves Desbazeille said.
Foratom said the energy plan, published on Wednesday, confirmed that nuclear will form “the backbone” of a carbon-free European power system, together with renewables. With each member state free to choose its own energy mix, the commission underlined that those investing in nuclear agree that it can contribute to security of energy supply, competitiveness and cleaner electricity production.
Foratom noted that the commission’s energy plan was published a day after International Energy Agency executive director Fatih Birol warned the EU that current policies are discouraging investments in new nuclear power plants and the long-term operation of existing reactors.
He called on the EU to bear in mind that nuclear is a low-carbon source of baseload electricity capable of ensuring security of supply – important attributes when dealing with the variability of renewable energy sources.
Mr Desbazeille said Europe is seeing a shift in opinion. “Poland has informally taken the decision to invest in nuclear to reduce its CO2 emissions whilst ensuring it has access to the electricity it needs,” he said. “France has decided to delay any decisions on cutting nuclear capacity due to the challenges which this would pose.”
“We hope to see, in the near future, more such decisions and declarations that will contribute to the overall EU efforts of decarbonising its 2050 economy with the help of nuclear.”