Press release

FORATOM welcomes inclusion of nuclear under REPowerEU

May 19, 2022 | Press Release

According to the European Commission’s REPowerEU Plan issued yesterday, nuclear will have a role to play in ensuring security of EU energy supplies. Furthermore, the Commission recognises that hydrogen produced from nuclear will act as a substitute for natural gas.

As rightly pointed out in the plan, stopping the phase out of nuclear power plants can help to reduce the EU’s dependence on Russian gas,” states Yves Desbazeille, FORATOM Director General. “Furthermore, the Commission makes clear that this will also bring economic benefits, as it will lead to lower investment costs. Given this, we firmly believe that one of the best ways of ensuring security of supply and lower investment costs today is to keep as many nuclear power plants running for as long as possible.”

However, this only provides a solution in the relatively short term. If the EU really is committed to a long-term, stable and affordable supply of low-carbon energy, more needs to be done to support the development of new nuclear projects, including small modular reactors. The shift towards increased electrification and greater use of low-carbon hydrogen will require vast amounts of low carbon energy.  And this energy needs to be produced in Europe.

Relying on massive imports of renewable hydrogen from outside of Europe to meet our demands will not solve our import dependency issues”, notes Mr Desbazeille. “We need to focus on increasing production of low-carbon hydrogen in Europe. The best way of achieving this is through an electricity mix made up of nuclear and renewables.”

As noted in the communication, Member States currently dependent on Russia for nuclear fuel are encouraged to look at options for diversification. In this respect, the industry is already in discussion with, for example, the Euratom Supply Agency and fuel manufacturers to identify alternatives to Russian uranium and fuels.

Indeed, external supply dependencies affect all technologies, in particular those with a high (critical) raw material footprint such as some renewables. The EU needs to make sure that its plans do not lead to a massive dependency on imports of such materials which could trigger another wave of security of supply issues and potentially higher costs for consumers. Hence the need to implement a low-carbon energy strategy which makes the most of EU energy resources, such as nuclear.

About us: The European Atomic Forum (FORATOM) is the Brussels-based trade association for the nuclear energy industry in Europe. The membership of FORATOM is made up of 15 national nuclear associations and through these associations, FORATOM represents nearly 3,000 European companies working in the industry and supporting around 1,100,000 jobs.

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