Brussels, 13 November 2008
Update to the Commission's Nuclear
The European Commission has launched a wide-ranging
energy package which gives a new boost to energy security in Europe. One of the
key actions proposed is to stimulate investment in more efficient, low-carbon
energy infrastructure. As part of the energy package, the Commission has updated
its 2007 Nuclear Illustrative Programme
proposing that future construction uses the latest technology; ensuring the
highest standards of nuclear safety as well as simplifying and harmonising the
currently differing licensing requirements and procedures in the Member States.
Nuclear energy plays an important role in the transition to a low carbon economy
and reduces EU external supply dependency. The choice to include nuclear energy
in the energy mix lies with the Member States. Nevertheless, it should be noted
that if strategic investment decisions about power generation capacities in
nuclear as well as in renewable energy are taken rapidly, nearly two thirds of
EU's electricity generation could be low carbon in the early 2020s.
It remains for each Member State to decide whether or not to rely on nuclear
power for the generation of electricity. With 148 reactors spread over 15 EU
Member States, today nuclear power contributes about one third of Europe’s
electricity. Decisions to construct new or replace existing nuclear power plants
have been taken in Bulgaria, Finland, France and Slovakia. Firm plans are
underway in Romania and the United Kingdom and other EU countries, including the
Czech Republic, Italy and the Netherlands. Lithuania together with Estonia and
Latvia, as well as Poland, are also considering new nuclear power plants.
However, if the planned shut down of nuclear reactors within some EU Member
States continues, this share will be significantly reduced.
The updated PINC addresses some of the key issues that were raised in recent
debates by the European Economic and Social Committee, the European Parliament
and the European Nuclear Energy Forum. These include:
- Link between nuclear energy and security of supply, with a special focus on
the investment needs (replacement / life extension of ageing power plants) and
security of supply for nuclear fuels;
- Role of public authorities with emphasis in the EU on nuclear safety and
waste management (outside the EU on security / non-proliferation);
- Importance of public acceptance of nuclear energy and factors influencing
More information here.
 Communication from the
Commission to the Council and the European Parliament "Nuclear Illustrative
Programme" – COM/2007/565-1, OF 4.10.2007.