May 15, 2023
France Leads EU Push to Cement Nuclear’s Role in Green Shift
(Bloomberg) -- France is stepping up its effort to ensure that the European Union treats nuclear power similarly to renewable technologies during the transition to carbon neutrality by the middle of the century.
The country is convening a meeting of a group called the Nuclear Alliance to push for atomic energy to be recognized by the the EU as a crucial to achieving its climate goals, according to a draft statement seen by Bloomberg. Representatives from 15 EU countries — including Italy as an observer — the UK and Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson will attend the meeting in Paris.
The idea is to ensure that nuclear power maintains its current share of 25% of electricity production by 2050. Even with new nuclear reactors taking many years to build and requiring large amounts of investment, the countries forecast that the technology can provide up to 150 gigawatts of electricity capacity by 2050.
“This represents the equivalent of up to 30 to 45 new-build large reactors and small modular reactors in the EU,” accordng to the draft statement. The representatives call on the EU “to take into account the contribution of all affordable, reliable, fossil-free and safe energy sources to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.”
The statement also emphasizes the need to curtail Russian supplies of nuclear fuel, which hasn’t yet been included in sanctions.
Read more: EU Agrees Nuclear Has Role in Meeting Ambitious Climate Goal
While nuclear has been touted by the likes of France as a crucial technology that’s carbon-free and can help provide a stable source of energy alongside intermittent renewables like wind and solar, there’s still skepticism over whether it’s the most cost-effective way of meeting climate goals. It was also left off a list of strategic clean technologies to help rival the US and China in March.
Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden and Slovakia will attend the meeting alongside Italy and the UK.
--With assistance from Francois de Beaupuy.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.