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Bratislava, 3 November 2008

Open debate on opportunities and risks of nuclear energy at the European Nuclear Energy Forum third meeting in Bratislava

The Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico and his Czech counterpart Mirek Topolánek have today opened the third plenary session of the European Nuclear Energy Forum (ENEF) which will run until tomorrow in the Slovak capital Bratislava. 200 high-ranking participants from all relevant stakeholders are discussing risks, opportunities and transparency issues of nuclear energy. In his welcome message to the Forum, Commissioner Piebalgs highlighted the importance of investing in low carbon electricity generation. He also stressed that "it is time to respond to the demand from European citizens to develop a common legislative framework for nuclear safety" confirming that the Commission will present in a few weeks a revised proposal for a Directive on nuclear safety.

The Forum has again attracted 200 participants from Member State governments, European Institutions and major energy companies as well as a large number of key actors in the field of public administration, industry, finance and civil society. Besides the Prime Ministers of the two host countries, the ENEF opening session was attended by several Ministers, Members of the European Parliament, Mrs Dana Drábová, President of the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA), industry leaders such as Fulvio Conti, Pertti Simola and Ana Palacio, respectively CEO of ENEL, Vice-President of PVO and Member of the Board of AREVA, and representatives of civil society, including non-government organisations, e.g. Greenpeace represented by Jorgo Riss, Executive Director of Greenpeace Europe, and Friends of the Earth.

ENEF is conceived as a platform to promote a broad discussion among all relevant stakeholders on the opportunities and risks of nuclear energy. The Commission's proposal to create the European Nuclear Energy Forum was endorsed by the European Council in March 2007. Hosted successively in Bratislava and Prague, ENEF meets twice per year.

On the basis of reports presented by the three working groups, which were set up during the first plenary meeting in November 2007, the debate in Bratislava will concentrate on priority issues, namely:

  • How to guarantee a high level of nuclear safety all over Europe;
  • How to translate the costs of nuclear-generated electricity into electricity prices;
  • How to develop new concepts for electricity grids; and
  • How to better involve the public in nuclear

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