Nuclear Politics

Westinghouse Calls On EU Not To Exclude Nuclear From Debate On Energy Policy

By Kamen Kraev
4 October 2017

4 Oct (NucNet): US-based nuclear equipment manufacturer Westinghouse Electric Company has called on European Union legislators to adopt a technology-neutral approach when discussing the future of the bloc’s low-carbon energy policies. In its ‘Clean Energy for All Europeans’ legislative package, released in November 2016, the European Commission made no mention of nuclear energy, said Michael Kirst, Westinghouse’s vice-president of strategy for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region at a media briefing in Brussels. The EC said the legislative package aims to improve the functioning of the European energy market, increase energy efficiency across the EU, achieve European “global leadership” in renewable energy and innovation, and provide a “fair deal” for consumers. “We are a bit surprised how nuclear is treated”, Luc Van Hulle, the company’s president for EMEA said. Mr Van Hulle said Westinghouse believes greenhouse-emission and energy efficiency targets should be set by legislation, but types of technology to be used in achieving those targets should not be specified. This approach inhibits technology innovation, he said. He called for legislation to be created to ensure nuclear is considered among all low-carbon energy sources. As part of its criticism of the proposed clean energy package, Westinghouse also said EU legislators did not consider “the totality of system costs” for each source of energy. Overall costs extend beyond the usual generation costs and include system costs such as back-up fuel and ETS (emission trading system) costs, taxes and policy support costs, and network costs like grid losses, grid modification, transmission disturbance and maintenance costs. Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy protection in the US in March 2017 to shelter its core businesses and give time to restructure for continuing operation. The company had been troubled by significant cost overruns on construction of AP1000 reactors at the Vogtle and Summer nuclear power stations. Company president and chief executive officer José Gutiérrez said the problems that led to the Chapter 11 filing had nothing to do with the AP1000 technology and that AP1000 reactors being built in China are proceeding well. Last month Westinghouse said it remained committed to developing a 225-MW small modular reactor (SMR) in the UK. Details of the clean energy package are online:

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