FORATOM, the voice of the European nuclear energy industry, welcomes the adoption today of the “State of the Energy Union” report by the European Commission.
EC VicePresident Maroš Šefčovič’s overview of the state of affairs for achieving the Energy Union, as well as the specific progress reports adopted on the European Energy Security Strategy and the implementation of the European Nuclear Safety Directive, form an important mechanism for transparency and accountability in the EU’s energy policy.
Mr Šefčovič said: “the EU should continue to lead in the transition to a low carbon economy,” and the “State of the Energy Union” report highlights the important role of nuclear energy in decarbonising the economy and achieving the EU’s 2030 climate and energy targets.
The EC recognises that nuclear energy has already helped three major global economies – the EU, Brazil and Canada – produce more than half of their electricity without greenhouse gas emissions. In the EU, nuclear generates 27% of all electricity and accounts for 53% of low carbon electricity. “[Nuclear energy] is an important component in the energy mix of many Member States,” the report also highlights.
Mr Šefčovič also stated that “2016 will be the year in which we will lay the foundations of a robust governance system bringing predictability and transparency, which is what investors need”.
FORATOM believes the “Illustrative Programme for Nuclear Energy” (PINC), planned for publication in early 2016, should confirm nuclear energy as an indispensable pillar in this foundation by establishing a clear framework on long-term nuclear investments.
The EU should maintain at least the current capacity of nuclear generation up to and beyond 2050, which will entail the commissioning of more than 100 nuclear reactors over the next 35 years.
To achieve this, the PINC should deliver certainty on the major investments required in nuclear new build, lifetime extension and safety upgrades, fuel cycle operations, decommissioning and waste management. FORATOM also welcomes the progress report on the European Nuclear Safety Directive which was adopted in 2009 and amended in 2014.
The positive assessment of the EC on the existence of appropriate national arrangements to achieve a high level of safety and the established international benchmarking and peer-reviews system show that the nuclear industry is dedicated to the Directive’s swift implementation.
The nuclear industry has consistently reiterated its commitment to the principle of continuous improvement which ensures the constant maintenance and improvement of the excellent safety standards already enforced at Europe’s nuclear power plants.
We look forward to the next national reports to be sent by the Member States to the EC by 22 July 2020 and the Commission’s assessment on the transposition of the Directive.
FORATOM recalls the EC’s recognition that “electricity produced from nuclear power plants constitutes a reliable base-load supply of emission-free electricity and plays an important role for energy security”.
As such, the European nuclear industry supports the Energy Union’s aim of providing competitiveness and security of low carbon electricity supply and will continue to contribute significantly to its achievement.