Nuclear Politics

Europe / Reactors Can Help Tackle Energy Crisis, Says Nuclear Industry Group

By David Dalton
9 March 2022

Reactors Can Help Tackle Energy Crisis, Says Nuclear Industry Group
Yves Desbazeille said Europe needs an energy mix composed of both nuclear and renewables. Courtesy Foratom.
Brussels-based nuclear industry association Foratom has called on the EU to consider increasing its reliance on nuclear power, arguing that reactors can help tackle the current energy crisis by offering security of supply and affordability.

Foratom made the appeal following publication of the REPowerEU strategy, which lays out plans for more affordable, secure and sustainable energy. The strategy made little reference to nuclear.

According to REPowerEU, following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the case for a rapid clean energy transition has never been stronger and clearer. The EU imports 90% of its gas consumption, with Russia providing more than 40% of the EU’s total. Russia also accounts for 27% of oil imports and 46% of coal imports.

The strategy lays out proposals for “eliminating” Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels.

“We are disappointed that very little is said about nuclear in the communication given that it consistently produces around one quarter of electricity in the EU,” Foratom director-general Yves Desbazeille said.

“Ignoring the EU’s main source of highly dispatchable, low-carbon and non-weather dependent energy raises question about whether the proposed measures are realistic,” Mr Desbazeille said.

He said the European commission has already admitted that nuclear will form the backbone of a carbon-free European power system, together with renewables. “Having an energy mix composed of both nuclear and renewables is key to ensuring an affordable, secure and stable supply of energy in long-term,” he said.

Foratom called on the bloc to extending the operation of the existing nuclear fleet. It said this is by far the most affordable solution for 2030 net zero goals as it also ensures security of supply and grid stability. “From a longer-term perspective, the EU needs to seriously consider and support the construction of new nuclear power plants in all future policies,” the group said.

Foratom said nuclear accounted for around 25% of the electricity produced in the EU in 2020. This share will probably decrease as power demand rises and some nuclear reactors are shut down, including three in Germany which are due to close by the end of 2022.

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