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PRESS RELEASE: NNWE Briefing – Europe’s Decarbonisation Targets and Future International Cooperation in Nuclear Energy



5 OCTOBER 2016



Europe’s Decarbonisation Targets and Future International Cooperation in Nuclear Energy

The latest NNWE event was held in Bratislava to coincide with the 11th European Nuclear Energy Forum (ENEF) Plenary Meeting. Tim Yeo, Chairman of NNWE, was clear about the important role nuclear has to play in meeting Europe’s decarbonisation targets and the need to encourage investment in new nuclear build.

According to International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates, Europe must at least maintain its total nuclear installed capacity at around 150-160GW – of which 100-120GW in the EU – if it is to meet its decarbonisation targets and contribute proportionately to the efforts to keep the global temperature rise below 2°C by 2050. Replacing the ageing nuclear fleet will mean at least 120GW of new nuclear build in the region by 2050, which translates into a grid-connection rates of at least 3-4 new power units a year in the coming decades, of which 1-2 new power units should be connected to the grid in the EU.

Tim Yeo commented: “New nuclear build is critical to meeting Europe’s decarbonisation targets. Since the beginning of the century Europe has seen only 11 new nuclear power units connected to the grid, of which two were in the EU. That means to meet its decarbonisation targets Europe needs a five-fold increase in the new build rate achieved this century.

“The lack of encouragement within the EU for nuclear power raises serious questions. More needs to be done to attract investment into nuclear within the EU, which means EU policy needs to be looked at and made more positive”.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) considers 15 reactors to be under construction in Europe, of which only four are in the EU. Of the reactors which are firmly planned to break ground within two years there are seven in the EU, including Hinkley Point C in the UK, out of 14. All of those seven are impossible without either Russian or Chinese involvement.

One of the speakers at the event, Miroslav Zimermann, First Secretary – Energy Policy Unit, Slovak Permanent Representation to the EU informed: “state of play of the SK Presidency Agenda in nuclear field, particularly about upcoming revision of Regulation under article 41 of Euratom Treaty, proposal of Council conclusion related with the ECA report of decommissioning process in LT, BG and SK, and about the upcoming Commission progress report related with inventory on the implementation of the Council Directive 2009/70/Euratom (Nuclear Waste Directive)”.

Vladimir Slugen, President, Slovak Nuclear Society, commented: “Nuclear energy is a safe, clean and sustainable energy source that produces electricity economically and reliably with near-zero anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

“Energy policy makers at all levels in their activities to support their respective country’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution submitted to COP 21 should consider any technology that will reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. No such technology should be restricted or excluded. The current or potential role of nuclear energy to reduce such emissions should be evaluated in the context of the current conditions in each respective country”.

Also speaking at the event, Dmitry Sukhanov, CEO Atomenergopromsbyt, Rosatom Group, commented: “Changes in the EU’s energy policy and that of its Member States are vital to implement ambitious targets, which are set under the COP 21 agreement. At Rosatom, we are following very closely the approach that is being implemented now, and the UK is a good example of an efficient approach towards energy policy change. In the UK, both nuclear and renewable sources are recognised as CO2-free generation and appropriate instruments to stimulate investment in such generation are being developed and used. Similar priorities are also followed in our own country, where we are developing both nuclear and renewable generation.

“One of Rosatom’s projects, the export-oriented Baltic NPP in the Kaliningrad region, can support EU Member States in fulfilment of its decarbonisation objectives and supply competitive, CO2-free baseload generation”.

Delegates, which included representatives from the OECD-Nuclear Energy Agency, Foratom, Rosatom, EDF, Westinghouse and KHNP, as well as Permanent Representations to the EU, discussed at length the barriers of international cooperation within the nuclear sector.

Participants acknowledged that high cost of construction is the main challenge facing new nuclear build and called for greater standardisation of parts and materials to be made available to all vendors, which meet existing regulations and standards. It was debated whether such standardisation should be driven by either governmental intervention or pan-EU recognition, but ultimately it was believed that although helpful, in the short and medium term, cooperation between the organisations that build and develop the technology and equipment would be a quicker, more feasible solution.


For more information, please contact:

Melanie Wedgbury

T: +44 (0)7734 793279

E: contact@newnuclerwatch.eu



Notes to Editors

  1. NNWE was founded at the end of 2014 to help ensure nuclear power is recognised as an important and desirable way for European governments to provide affordable, secure, low carbon energy and help to meet the long-term energy needs of their citizens.
  2. Membership of NNWE is open to all companies, individuals and organisations active in the nuclear industry including those involved in the supply chain. More information is available at newnuclearwatch.eu
  3. Tim Yeo is Chair of New Nuclear Watch Europe and the University of Sheffield Industrial Advisory Board for the Energy 2050 initiative. He is a former Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and was Chair of the Environmental Audit Select Committee from 2005-2010 and then Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee from 2010-2015.