Nuclear: France and ten other countries want to relaunch Europe from atom

A coalition of eleven European nations affirmed, Tuesday, February 28, its desire to strengthen cooperation in nuclear, drawing a fracture line with those – including Germany – which prefer to concentrate their efforts in renewables.

by Adrien Pécout

They summoned the memory of Euratom. This founding treaty, in March 1957, of the European Atomic Energy Community aims to ensure international cooperation in nuclear matters. Tuesday, February 28, on the occasion of the informal council of energy ministers, in Stockholm, Sweden, eleven member states of the European Union (EU) reaffirmed their attachment to the atom and “their desire to strengthen [ this] cooperation “.

The ministers, including the French Agnès Pannier-Runacher, have stressed their wish “to explore common training programs and industrialists”. Objective: “support new projects, including innovative technologies, as well as the exploitation of existing power stations”. This call occurs in a particular context, that of a line of energy fracture in the process of taking shape.

Several nations, including France, have already expressed their desire to relaunch the atom – which currently represents a quarter of European electricity production. A low carbon and controlled energy, according to his supporters … where his detractors insist, among other things, on the question of safety and radioactive waste.

Ten states support France in the joint declaration, mainly in the east of the continent: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Finland, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Six new EPR 2 reactors in France

earlier in February, this coalition of nuclear favorable governments had already obtained satisfaction. The European Commission proposed to consider the hydrogen as “green” produced in particular from nuclear, despite the opposition of Germany, Luxembourg or Austria with regard to the atom. “To win the race against climate change, we must be fast,” said Luxembourgish Minister of Energy on Monday, February 27, Claude Turmes, quoted by the France-Presse (AFP) agency. However, according to him, the construction of new reactors will take too long.

For atom skeptics, the old continent would rather gain to focus on the financing of renewable energies. “We have objectives of decarbonation that each state can achieve as it sees fit. But the EU has also set objectives of renewables to achieve together,” reacted the German Secretary of State, Sven Giegold.

As it had announced in early 2022, the French government intends to launch the construction of at least six new EPR 2 nuclear reactors in France, without ceasing the deployment of renewable energies – such as solar and wind. First expected commissioning: 2035 at the earliest.

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/Media reports cited above.