10 Euro nations in drive for more nuclear plants

By Mike Hayes13 October 2021

France leads call to designate nuclear power ‘green’ and reduce ‘third country’ energy dependence

Aerial view of the under-construcgtion Flamanville 3 nuclear reactor in Normandy, France. Image courtesy Bouygues Travaux Publics

Senior politicians from France – along with nine other EU member nations – have sent a letter to the European Commission (EC), requesting that nuclear power be recognised as a low-carbon and sustainable energy source and included in the EU’s sustainable finance regulations.

Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania – each boasting nuclear power within its energy portfolio – joined France’s call to aid the expansion of nuclear facilities.

Calling nuclear power a “key affordable, stable and independent energy source,” the letter stresses the importance of EU member states’ ability to reduce their reliance on power sourced from beyond the bloc.

Currently, 90% of the EU’s energy derives from outside of its borders, including a heavy reliance on oil and gas from Russia.

As well as citing protection from exposure to “the volatility of prices”, the letter states, “Supply tensions will be more and more frequent and we have no choice but to diversify our supply. We should pay attention not to increase our dependency on energy imports from outside Europe.”

The nuclear power divide

Currently, European nations are split on their opinion of nuclear power, with Germany planning to decommission all of its reactors by 2022, and other nations, including Austria, Denmark and Spain voicing concern over the environmental impact of nuclear waste.

In France, however, nuclear power accounts for over 70% of the country’s electricity generation – a higher percentage than any other nation.

This week, the French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled a €30 billion plan to boost the country’s industrial activity, including around €8 billion for the construction of a number of small nuclear reactors.

The French government has also said plans to expand its nuclear power portfolio will aid its efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

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