Nuclear energy in transition towards low carbon economy

Commissioner Piebalgs underlines the role of nuclear energy in the transition towards a low carbon economy Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs reiterated today the importance of nuclear energy for the reduction of CO2 emissions in a speech at a European Nuclear Assembly conference in Brussels. The conference was dedicated to the development of Europe's low carbon economy and organised by Foratom.

The EU needs substantial investments in order to replace its ageing power plants. A large number of currently operating nuclear power plants will reach the end of their lifespan before 2030. In order to make the necessary investments possible, the Commission is examining ways to address the difficulties related to licensing, financing and different nuclear liability regimes.

While highlighting the important role of nuclear in the overall energy mix, Commissioner Piebalgs also pointed out the need to address nuclear safety concerns, nuclear waste management and transparency, which are all important elements for public acceptance of nuclear energy. He outlined recent Commission initiatives such as the High Level Group on Nuclear Safety and Waste Management, the European Nuclear Energy Forum and the Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform (SNE-TP).

The first meeting on the matter was held in Bratislava on the 26th adn 27th of Novemember 2007. The next meeting will take place in Prague on the 22nd and 23rd May 2008.

What is The European Nuclear Energy Forum?

Its main purpose is to promote the use of nuclear energy in Europe by representing the interests of this important and multi-faceted industrial sector.

Foratom acts as the voice of the industry in energy policy discussions involving the EU institutions and provide a “bridge” between the industry and the institutions (Members of the European Parliament and key policy-makers in the European Commission).

The membership of Foratom is made up of 17 national nuclear associations. Foratom also represents some of the continent's largest industrial concerns. Nearly 800 firms are represented.

What is the Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform?

The Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform (SNE-TP) was officially launched on the 21st September in Brussels. This Technology Platform aims at coordinating Research, Development, Demonstration and Deployment (RDD&D) in the field of nuclear fission energy programme. It gathers stakeholders from industry (technology suppliers, utilities and other users), research organisations including Technical Safety Organisations (TSO), universities and national representatives.