Nuclear industry sets expectations of next European Commission

14 June 2024

Leaders from across the European nuclear industry have published a manifesto outlining their priorities for the new European Commission. Nuclear energy, they note, plays a crucial role in providing the EU with secure and affordable energy.

Industry leaders present their manifesto (Image: Nucleareurope)

Between 6 and 9 June, EU citizens voted to elect the 720 members of the next European Parliament. The new European Commission and its new President will shortly be elected.

The manifesto notes the Nuclear Alliance of the EU Member States who have committed to expanding their use of nuclear energy has recognised that nuclear could provide up to 150 GW of electricity capacity by 2050 in the EU, compared with about 100 GW currently. This commitment aligns with the Net Zero Nuclear initiative, launched in November last year during COP28, which aims to triple the world's nuclear energy capacity by 2050.

More recently, this support for the sector has also been echoed by the European Commission during the Nuclear Energy Summit in March, and with the launch of the European Industrial Alliance for Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), as well as by the European Parliament's adoption of an Own Initiative Report on SMRs.

"We have to build on this acknowledgement," the manifesto says. "For the EU to achieve a net-zero future for our society, it is imperative to fully support the pivotal role of nuclear energy alongside renewable energy sources.

"We encourage European institutions to develop an ambitious strategy to accelerate the decarbonisation and electrification of Europe's industry. This strategy should acknowledge the significant role that nuclear energy plays in enhancing the EU's strategic autonomy."

In the manifesto, nuclear industry leaders call on policymakers to: treat all net-zero technologies equally; implement consistent and coherent policies which facilitate the deployment of nuclear; allow nuclear to access EU funds and finance; include the nuclear fuel cycle as an enabling activity under the Sustainable Finance Taxonomy; ensure that low-carbon technologies are not discriminated against in taxation policies; enable innovative nuclear technologies to access EU funds beyond the Euratom programme and provide greater support for nuclear research; and support and invest in the development of a skilled nuclear workforce.

"The challenges are significant but not impossible to overcome if the European institutions, EU Member States' governments and the whole nuclear community collaborate closely to meet them," the manifesto says. "The European nuclear industry is fully committed to fulfil its role.

"It is time to turn words into actions. Together we can make a difference."

Yves Desbazeille, director general of nuclear trade body Nucleareurope, added: "Nuclear is a clean and sustainable technology which is why it essential the next Commission treat nuclear on an equal footing with other fossil free technologies. Our expectation is that future policy proposals will focus on goals - decarbonisation, competitiveness, energy sovereignty - rather than on specific technologies."

Nuclear energy generates electricity in 14 of the 27 EU Member States, and currently provides 25% of Europe's electricity and 50% of its low carbon electricity.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News