European nuclear trade association Foratom on 14 July welcomed the European Commission’s (EC’s) Fit for 55 package and said it fully supports all proposals which aim to reduce CO2 emissions in line with the Climate Law and Paris Agreement. Foratom noted that the bar has been set very high as it will apply to a broad range of sectors including industry, buildings and transport.

The European Union (EU) on 14 July detailed how it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years, including plans affecting many sectors from air travel to shipping. The 27-member EU has vowed to become carbon neutral by 2050 and to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 from 1990 levels.

In a wide-ranging proposal, the EC, outlined how that can be achieved. “The fossil fuel economy has reached its limits. We want to leave the next generation a healthy planet as well as good jobs and growth that does not hurt our nature,” EC President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement as the blueprint was released. European Parliament President David Sassoli said: "Parliament stands ready to work on the proposals as soon as possible. The EU has proved that it is possible to cut emissions while growing and creating jobs. Let's continue on this path and ensure that no one is left behind."

“Achieving this target will not be easy – many aspects need to be taken into consideration to ensure that, in the race to decarbonisation, other problems do not arise”, stated Foratom Director General Yves Desbazeille. He asked how the transition will be financed. “Will we have enough low-carbon energy to meet our needs? How can we ensure that industries are able to decarbonise their manufacturing processes whilst remaining competitive? And how can we mitigate potential social impacts (eg job losses, energy poverty)?”

He added: “Nuclear has a key role to play in this transition, together with other low-carbon technologies. It is a low-carbon source of energy, thus helping European achieve its decarbonisation targets. It is also affordable and available 24/7, two key attributes when it comes to finding competitive solutions for energy-intensive industries in Europe”.

Foratom said the nuclear sector remains committed to working with the EU and supporting technology neutral policies which will help to achieve these ambitious goals. Furthermore, and as highlighted in the latest International Energy Agency and OECD Nuclear Energy Agency report entitled ‘Projected Costs of Generating Electricity 2020’, the long-term operation of nuclear power plants remains the cheapest source of electricity across the board, Foratom stressed. “Therefore, prolonging the existing fleet would be the best way of achieving the 2030 targets in an affordable manner.”