Today, almost half of the countries in the European Union (EU) generate nuclear energy. France has the most operational nuclear reactors, followed by Belgium and Spain. These countries can quickly increase their power generation from existing reactors, as most reactors usually do not operate at full capacity. This was one of the solutions proposed by the International Energy Agency to reduce Europe's dependence on Russian natural gas.Countries that oppose the expansion of nuclear energy, such as Austria, Germany, Luxembourg and Portugal, have expressed concerns about the disposal of nuclear waste and the risks of an accident.
Italy, for example, closed all its nuclear power plants in 1990 and since then nuclear power has been interrupted due to referendums in 1987.For financial, political and technical reasons, Cuba, Libya and Poland never completed the construction of their first nuclear plants, while Australia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ghana, Ireland, Kuwait, Oman, Peru and Singapore never built their first planned nuclear power plants.The largest producer of nuclear energy in the EU was France (52% of total EU nuclear energy production; 353 833 GWh), followed by Germany (9%; 64 382 GWh), Spain (9%; 58 299 GWh) and Sweden (7%; 49 198 GWh).Ukraine's four nuclear power plants (NPPs), with a net nuclear power capacity of more than 13 GWe, generate about half of Ukraine's energy needs. The Russian capture of Europe's largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia, in southern Ukraine, has caused widespread condemnation after fighting was reported near the nuclear reactor. Despite its heavy reliance on nuclear energy, Slovakia only operates four plants, demonstrating how effective nuclear energy can be. The European Commission is expected to decide later this year whether to classify nuclear energy as a clean energy source; if it does so, it could boost investment in nuclear energy across the region, experts say.