What about Nuclear Power in the EU Electricity Mix?

Jean-Pierre Schaeken Willemaers, Chairman of the Energy, Climate, and Environment Department of the Thomas More Institute

November 2014 • Tribune 49 •

The debate on electrical energy in the EU, more and more emotional, has generated overreactions. Within Europe, a division has emerged between countries rushing for renewable energy and/or phasing out nuclear power (the “Green approach”), and member states promoting a more balanced mix including thermal (with appropriate environmental protection), nuclear and hydro power as well as renewables.

Such a division between energy policies is not experienced at the same scale outside the EU. The experience (good and bad) gained by countries like Germany, that have been and, to some extent, still are investing in “green” energy, will be deciding for pursuing or totally/partially dropping the “green approach”. It is worth noting that in the EU member states that experienced scarcity such as the EU Eastern countries, public acceptance of thermal and nuclear power generation is the highest even after Fukushima.

Whatever scenario is adopted, a stable legal framework is essential for the required investments. Legislation should obviously take into account recent technological progress. In any case, in the aftermath of the economic crisis, the priorities of the EU energy policy are to strengthen security of supply and competitiveness in a sustainable way. This note wants to define the best ways to achieve these goals.