Representatives from the nuclear industry meeting at the Nuclear in a Changing World conference in Bucharest, Romania, on 26 June issued a manifesto outlining the steps needed to achieve a decarbonised Europe by 2050.
The target can be met, they said, but only if the European Union (EU) works in partnership with the nuclear indsutry. The aim of the conference, organised by Foratom, was to discuss key challenges affecting the EU's energy sector, the role of long-term operation of nuclear power plants and how to ensure that the industry has access to the skills it needs.
Last November, the European Commission adopted a strategic long-term vision - A Clean Planet for All - for a "prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy" by 2050. Under the strategy Europe can promote climate neutrality by investing into "realistic technological solutions, empowering citizens, and aligning action in key areas such as industrial policy, finance, or research". All eight of the possible scenarios include a significant share of nuclear generated electricity. The manifesto calls on EU policymakers to work with them to overcome the hurdles which have the potential to prevent Europe from achieving its goals.
"Meeting the EU's ambition to decarbonise its economy will require significant investment in all low-carbon technologies," their manifesto said. "This means investing in Europe in both the long-term operation of the existing fleet and the construction of substantial new nuclear capacity (around 100GW of nuclear new build)." The group believe this is achieveable if institutions, Member States and the European nuclear industry work together in partnership.
According to the manifesto, the nuclear industry will strive to deliver the required volume of nuclear capacity "on time and at a competitive cost." It will also undertake R&D and innovation activities to identify areas where the nuclear industry can help decarbonise other sectors. The nuclear industry will contribute to ensuring security of energy supply, continue to manage used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste in a responsible manner, invest in and maintain human capital and will build a strong European foundation to export nuclear technologies and skills to overseas markets.
The manifesto urges the EU to adopt an "ambitious" net-zero carbon dioxide emissions target for Europe in 2050. It should also ensure a "coherent, consistent and stable" EU policy framework (including for Euratom), and implement an investment framework that incentivises investments in all competitive, low-carbon options.
The manifesto was signed by 29 leaders of the nuclear industry including representatives of Ansaldo Nucleare, CEA, CEZ Group, EDF, EDF Energy, EnergoAtom, Engie Electrabel, Fennovoima, Fortum, Framatome, Kozloduy NPP, MVM Group, Nuclear Industry Association, National Nuclear Laboratory, Nuclearelectrica, Orano, PGE EJ1, Romatom, Swissnuclear, Synatom, Tecnatom, TVO, Uniper Sweden, Urenco, Vattenfall and Westinghouse.
Europe has 128 reactors (with a combined capacity of 119GWe) operating in 14 of the 28 EU member states, and accounting for some 26% of the electricity generated in the EU. Nuclear accounts for 53% of the EU's carbon-free electricity. Adding 100GWe of capacity would involve the construction of about 60 EPR units of the type under construction at Flamanville, Hinkley Point and Olkiluoto.
Photo: Senior representatives from across the nuclear supply chain signed a manifesto outlining the steps needed to achieve a decarbonised Europe by 2050 (Credit: Foratom)