Encouraging discussions at Brussels event reinforces NNWE principles

This week I chaired NNWE’s first event in Brussels. It was an invitation-only round table which brought together an impressive group of top industry people from several countries with senior European policy makers.

Brussels was bathed in warm sunshine and the overall atmosphere at this meeting was similarly warm and positive. The European Commission clearly recognises and supports the wish of around half of the EU member states to have nuclear in their energy mix. There is widespread agreement about the vital contribution nuclear will make to achieving Europe’s challenging carbon emission reduction targets.

Equally important there is general acceptance that use of nuclear power enhances energy security. This is because it reduces dependence on imported fossil fuels and at the same time because there are multiple sources of nuclear fuel available to those member states which choose to build new nuclear power stations.

Not surprisingly the discussion also focused on affordability. As concern about consumer prices remains high and policy makers try hard to minimise energy costs many people suggested ways of reducing the cost of new nuclear.

One participant pointed out how the big expansion of nuclear power in France originally delivered good value for money by rolling out a large number of power stations of the same design. NNWE’s support for using technology which is tried and tested is already well known.

Another emphasised that today’s interest rates offer an attractive opportunity to borrow at historically low levels and thereby fund construction costs more cheaply than usual.

It was an encouraging discussion and reinforced the main principles on which NNWE has been established.