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Brussels, 29 May 2009

Open debate on nuclear opportunities, risks and transparency at the European Nuclear Energy Forum in Prague

Jan Fischer, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, his Slovak counterpart Robert Fico and EU Commissioner Vladimír Špidla have opened today the fourth plenary session of the European Nuclear Energy Forum (ENEF) in the Czech capital Prague. 250 high-ranking participants from all relevant stakeholders are discussing risks, opportunities and transparency issues of nuclear energy.

Referring to the Commission's strategy for a comprehensive energy and climate change policy, Commissioner Špidla said: "If we decide rapidly on strategic investment, there is the potential that around two-thirds of the Union's electricity could be low carbon by the early 2020s. Moreover, the EU aims to decarbonise the entire EU electricity supply by 2050.” While it is an issue for each Member State to decide, nuclear energy could contribute significantly to reaching these ambitions - it accounts for around one-third of electricity generation in Europe, and represents a secure and competitive, low-carbon energy source. In this framework, Commissioner Špidla stressed: "The EU needs to further develop the most advanced framework for nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation" confirming that the Commission is taking concrete steps on all these issues."

ENEF serves as a platform to promote a broad discussion among all relevant stakeholders on the opportunities and risks of nuclear energy. The Forum replies to the challenges of an European energy policy. Commission President José Manuel Barroso has recently underlined that "continuing to stimulate a real debate on the future of nuclear energy is necessary.

At the Prague meeting the Forum has been dedicated more particularly to nuclear safety, nuclear waste policies, possible initiatives on training and education as well as in the area of transparency.

The Forum has again attracted 250 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.

The Commission's proposal to create the European Nuclear Energy Forum was endorsed by the European Council in March 2007. The Forum is hosted successively in Bratislava and Prague.

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