Eleven EU states pledge to strengthen nuclear power, 'support new projects'
'Nuclear energy is one of the many tools for achieving our climate targets,' to produce electricity, to meet consumer demands, and 'for security of supply'
Several European Union member states on Tuesday vowed to “strengthen cooperation” on nuclear energy, which they said would help Europe move away from carbon-emitting fossil fuels.
The 11 countries – Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia – agreed to “support new projects” alongside existing nuclear plants, according to a statement released during a meeting of EU energy ministers in Sweden.
“Nuclear energy is one of the many tools for achieving our climate targets,” to produce electricity, to meet consumer demands, and “for security of supply,” it said.
France – which has long relied on atomic power – has spearheaded the effort to build closer European nuclear energy ties. Before the ministers' meeting, the office of Ecological Transition Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said France's aim was to "create a nuclear alliance.”
Paris believes nuclear power can help the country and Europe achieve its climate objectives, especially to produce "green" hydrogen for transport and industry. But the issue has divided Europe and several EU states are fiercely opposed, with Germany and Spain leading the criticism.
"If we want to win the race against climate change, we need to be fast," said Luxembourg Energy Minister Claude Turmes, adding that new nuclear stations would take 15 years to build. "It's much more about ideology than being practical.”
The EU is currently discussing a reform of the electricity market which has also split the bloc. France recommends long-term energy contracts at guaranteed prices that would benefit nuclear production, but Germany is vehemently against such a move.