Brussels, 21 September 2007
Energy consumption worldwide is likely to double between 2000 and 2050, and nuclear energy will remain a key element in future low-carbon energy systems. Europe has the largest nuclear industry in the world and one third of its electricity comes from nuclear plants. To prepare for the future and maintain European leadership in this sector, a Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform is being launched in Brussels today, bringing together researchers and industry to define and implement a Strategic Research Agenda and corresponding Deployment Strategy. This Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform will allow a new and fully integrated approach to research in Europe, its launch being very timely as the Commission prepares a Strategic Energy Technology Plan for the EU.
"For those countries that choose it, nuclear power will be a very important part of their solution to security of supply and reduction of greenhouse gases," said European Science and Research Commissioner, Janez Potočnik. "It is clear that we need to address two important concerns – ensuring that nuclear power is economically competitive and, more importantly, our duty to make it as neutral as possible in environmental terms and in terms of the legacy we leave future generations. The answer to both these concerns can be found in research: innovation and the next generation of nuclear power plants, with increased safety, efficiency and a significant reduction in nuclear waste as well as sound ways of recycling or storing it."
The European Technology Platform brings together all nuclear energy stakeholders to implement their vision of how the sector should develop in the future, identifying the research needed to make that vision a reality. It will provide expert advice and recommendations to the European Commission and national governments to help define and concentrate the efforts and budgets on priorities agreed at EU level. This will reinforce the European scientific base, while fostering dialogue on key issues such as management of waste and safety and protection of populations against radiological hazards, which are essential to reassure the public at large that these issues are being addressed appropriately.
The Technology Platform is being launched today at a conference, with the participation of Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik together with the Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and Alain Bugat, Director General of the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).