According to recent media coverage, the EU Commission wants to maintain its dominant position in nuclear technology. The underlying thought is evident: If nuclear energy will stay important in the coming decades, the European Union needs to play an active role in shaping the framework.
The phase out of nuclear energy in Germany is going the right way. Nonetheless, too few countries are willing to follow – especially those countries in an economic catch-up process. The International Energy Agency estimates that the share of nuclear energy within the electricity generation mix of non-OECD-countries will double until 2040. Even for the EU only a slight decline is being forecasted.
Apart from considerable safety and disposal problems nuclear energy seems attractive to many countries – in terms of costs and reducing carbon emissions. The latter has gained even more importance in light of the vision of the Paris climate summit.
It makes sense to actively shape further developments of nuclear energy at the EU level. It is the only way for Europe to be able to demand for strict safety standards or for answers to the final storage question. Only keeping technological sovereignty makes it possible to set standards also internationally.
Therefore, the EU Commission proves a pragmatism that would generally be helpful for the German “Energiewende“ too – in particular because their success is ultimately the best recommendation for a worldwide phase out of nuclear energy.
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