Germany is taking steps to shut down its remaining three nuclear power plants this year, due to public opinion and safety concerns. This move comes as Europe is struggling to reduce carbon emissions, and France and Germany disagree on the role of nuclear energy in achieving this goal. The European Commission (EC) has created the Euratom Supply Agency to ensure a diverse supply of nuclear fuel for current and future EU nuclear power plants. The agency also works to coordinate safety standards across Europe, including in Eastern Europe.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 caused a shift in public opinion in Japan, with Prime Minister Naoto Kan becoming increasingly anti-nuclear. In the UK, the government is in talks with EDF Energy for a new nuclear power plant at Sizewell C, and is also considering providing assistance for Wylfa, Moorside, and Bradwell B nuclear power plants. In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government plans for nuclear power to account for 20-22% of the country's total electricity supply by 2030. Canada has also decided to renew its existing CANDU reactors, including Bruce Nuclear Generating Station.
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. Germany's insistence on shutting down its remaining three nuclear power plants by the end of this year has caused confusion as Europe faces one of its worst energy crises ever. The International Energy Agency considers nuclear energy to be an “essential basis of the energy transition”, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe called last year's elimination of nuclear energy a “setback for efforts to combat climate change”. The plan's transition fund money will not finance the construction of nuclear power plants, despite the fact that nuclear energy provides 50% of the EU's low-carbon electricity.
The environmental impact of nuclear energy is the result of the nuclear fuel cycle, operation and effects of nuclear accidents.