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Brussels, 22 May 2008

European Nuclear Energy Forum meeting in Prague reports about the first results of discussions

The 2nd meeting of the European Nuclear Energy Forum is taking place in Prague on 22 and 23 May with participation of the Commission's president Mr José Manuel Barroso in visit in the Czech Republic and Commissioner Piebalgs, emphasizing the Commission's commitment to pursue an open and transparent debate on nuclear energy.

Commissioner Piebalgs said: ''The strong interest in ENEF confirms that the decision to create the ENEF was particularly timely and appropriate and I look very much forward to the Forum's contribution to the debate. The Commission on its side, while fully respecting each Member States' sovereign right with regard to the use of nuclear energy, remains committed to promoting the highest standards of safety and security." ''By looking into nuclear energy risks and opportunities, the ENEF has a unique possibility to contribute to addressing the outstanding issues, related to nuclear safety and waste management, both crucial for public acceptance of nuclear energy.''

Hosted by the Czech Government, the 2nd plenary meeting of the European Nuclear Energy Forum benefits from an increasing interest from the EU Member States' governments, many Members of the European Parliament representing different political groups, the Economic and Social Committee, and main actors from the nuclear industry, power utilities, energy intensive consumers, finance sector and civil society.

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

The inaugural meeting in Bratislava in November 2007 established 3 working groups on Opportunities, Risks and Transparency which will present their reports in Prague.

On the basis of reports presented by the three working groups, the debate in Prague will concentrate on the priority issues, namely:

  • the competitiveness of nuclear energy in a low carbon energy mix;
  • the specificities of financing new nuclear build;
  • the need for a legal roadmap accompanying the responsible use of nuclear energy;
  • greater harmonisation of nuclear safety, ways to progress on waste management, measures to ensure sufficient qualified human resources; and
  • analysing and optimising approaches to enhance trust building and confidence between the public and the actors involved in the process.

The Forum in Prague will outline the steps for the work in the next months to further deepen the debate on the role of nuclear energy in a low carbon energy mix, including the best ways to address outstanding challenges.

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