BalkanMagazin :: Ministers of Economy of 14 EU countries

The scheme set out in the petition boils down to the following: Ecology and the nuclear industry are no longer enemies, as has been the case in recent decades, but the nuclear industry is in fact an ecological industry.
(illustration, The Chooz Nuclear Power Plant is located in the town of Chooz at the top of Givet, near the border between Belgium and France. The plant produces 20 billion kWh per year, or 5% of France’s annual production)

“We Europeans need nuclear energy!”

If you thought that this was again a new slogan of nuclear lobbyists – you were wrong. This is the message from the petition signed at the beginning of October by 14 ministers of economy of the EU member states, including even Croatia, where earthquakes have been as frequent in recent years as almost in New Zealand.

In addition to Croatian economy and finance ministers, their counterparts from France, Romania, the Czech Republic, Finland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary signed that it was “vital” that nuclear energy be included in the EU’s “green measures”. The leader in advocating for the EU’s nuclear strategy is certainly France, the largest civilian nuclear power in Europe, which now sees an economic chance for its nuclear industry in the fight to decarbonise the economy.

France: Map of nuclear reactors in operation (source: IRSN)

The nuclear industry declared clean

The scheme set out in the petition boils down to the following: Ecology and the nuclear industry are no longer enemies, as has been the case in recent decades, but the nuclear industry is in fact an ecological industry.

This was preceded by the proclamation of “decarbonisation of the economy” as the main dogma of the EU, which is at the heart of the EU Green Plan. Now follows the phase of declaring the nuclear industry an ecological industry because it emits minimal amounts of carbon dioxide. That is enough to declare nuclear energy “clean” and the most important in the fight for “decarbonisation”.

However, the issue of disposing of radioactive waste that will radiate for millions of years and for which there is no ecological solution is completely silent, as well as the issue of the impact of climate warming on the safety of nuclear power plants. Nothing about the disaster in Fukushima, for example, where it was clearly shown what the consequences of the privatization of nuclear power plants were: Savings were made on safety measures, inspections and maintenance in order to increase shareholders’ dividends.

Old promises – no basis …

“Energy prices show how important it is to reduce our energy dependence on foreign countries as soon as possible. Difficulties related to energy delivery will increase. “We have no choice but to multiply different energy sources, taking care not to increase the import of energy coming from outside Europe,” the petition reads.

Ministers also say “yes” to hydrogen, but emphasize that the atom must be part of the solution to the energy conundrum and that nuclear energy has an “essential” role in “decarbonising the economy”. They promise what the proponents of nuclear power in the 1970s in France promised: Electricity will be cheap and we will be energy independent. However, several decades later, France is by far the most nuclearized country in Europe – currently there are as many as 27 nuclear power plants that work, but electricity is expensive and France sometimes imports it. The latest type of EPR nuclear plant has brought colossal losses of tens of billions of euros and years of construction delays due to technical problems.

“Important opportunity”

In the text of this petition, we can read that nuclear energy is “safe and innovative” and that it has proven how reliable it has been for more than six decades.

“With 126 reactors in operation in 14 European countries, it is one of the sectors with the most regulated system of rules of operation. Thanks to the constant exchange (of information and opinions) between agencies, this industry has the capacity to guarantee compliance with the strictest security standards in the world. That is especially true when it comes to the treatment of waste (from nuclear power plants) “, it is further written in the petition.

The ministers assure that the European nuclear industry is a “world leader” in its branch and that its development would enable the creation of almost a million jobs.

“Cooperation between member states will enable the construction of modern reactors such as small mobile nuclear reactors (SMR),” announced the ministers of 14 countries and said: “We need nuclear energy to win the battle for climate… Let’s not miss such an important opportunity.”

“All scientific analyzes, requested by the European Commission, conclude about the environmental consequences of nuclear energy: There is no scientific evidence that nuclear energy contributes more to global warming than the energies included in the EU Green Plan measures,” the petition reads.

Unrealistic plans of ministers

An indirect response to the petition of 14 ministers is the recently published report of the French Energy Transmission Network (RTE) “Energy Future 2050”, which clearly states that by 2050 the share of nuclear energy in the energy mix in France will fall from the current 70 percent to 50 percent.

France has built 60 nuclear reactors in the last 30 years, but it cannot repeat that feat for several reasons. Among other things, the construction of nuclear power plants requires manpower – which is not enough. About 10,000 people are wanted for just one nuclear power plant construction site with EPR technology.

“There is no point in being optimistic about new nuclear power plants if we fail to find the manpower to build them,” one nuclear expert told the daily. Le Figaro. The colossal losses and the delay of ten years in the construction of the EPR headquarters in Flamaville in the north of France are explained precisely by the lack of professional staff, instead of which “non-professional staff” worked.

The idea that half of the energy comes from nuclear power plants “represents a great industrial challenge” is written in the RTE report, adding that this would require “extending the life” of nuclear power plants older than 60 and building 14 EPR2 reactors of the latest generation, as well as new small mobile reactors that do not yet exist. To achieve this ambition, “it would be necessary to work with foreign partners, especially those from Asia,” the report said.

All in all, the ministers’ petition seems unrealistic even to those who are not against nuclear power plants, and the signatory ministers act as signatories to the lobbying texts of the nuclear industry.

Source: Balkan Magazin – Aktuelnosti by

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