Is europe phasing out nuclear power?

Germany, Spain and Switzerland plan to phase out nuclear energy by 2030. France resumes aggressive fission policy; Poland and Romania expand theirs; EU frameworks will treat some nuclear weapons as sustainable.

Is europe phasing out nuclear power?

Germany, Spain and Switzerland plan to phase out nuclear energy by 2030. France resumes aggressive fission policy; Poland and Romania expand theirs; EU frameworks will treat some nuclear weapons as sustainable. Nuclear energy is being overtaken by renewable energy around the world, but despite the safety risks and rising costs of new generation reactors, there is still no end in sight for nuclear energy, including in Europe. Cooperation within Europe and between Europe and third countries operates at several different levels.

The European Nuclear Education Network is a program that promotes educational and research collaboration across Europe. It covers all civil nuclear activities in the European Union and aims to provide a common market for nuclear materials, ensure the supply of nuclear fuel and ensure that nuclear materials do not deviate from their intended purpose. The Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA) is a network of core regulators from EU countries with nuclear power plants and Switzerland, with members from 17 countries. However, continuing concerns following the Chernobyl accident over two types of Russian nuclear reactors in Eastern Europe led the EU to demand their closure as part of EU accession negotiations with host countries.

The only reason the problem of nuclear waste exists today is because some people prevented the construction of one type of nuclear power plant. The deficit in nuclear generation in the United Kingdom was covered by electricity from gas power plants and imports from Europe. EU industry association Foratom said the directive reinforces the role and independence of Europe's national regulators and supports agreed safety objectives for nuclear power plants, in line with recommendations from the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA). Critics of Germany's nuclear plan have pointed to the contradiction of abandoning nuclear power while the country's coal-fired power plants continue to pump enormous quantities of carbon dioxide and deadly particles into the atmosphere.

The EU also supports nuclear safety through several agencies and programs, such as the TACIS (CIS States) and PHARE (Eastern Europe, including the Baltic States) programs and various funds. The IEA plan recommends keeping existing nuclear power plants in operation, while the EU plan makes no explicit reference to nuclear energy. That disaster, and concerns about the disposal of nuclear waste, also accelerated Germany's nuclear shutdown. It is important to take into account market failures and the need to protect against investment risks in order to create the necessary market conditions for investment in new nuclear construction projects in Europe.

The government of the Czech Republic also has plans to build at least two new nuclear reactors, while the Polish government wants to build the country's first nuclear reactor in a bid to move away from its heavy dependence on coal. It allows students to earn credits in a nuclear discipline outside their host country to obtain the additional qualification of the European Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering.

Nanette Thrun
Nanette Thrun

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