Nuclear power plants have traditionally offered cheap and emissions-free baseload power for the economy. Although typically operated in the baseload mode, nuclear power plants can also function in a load-following generation pattern; this design feature is mainly present in the newer, more advanced reactor types. The Small Modular Reactors technology (SMRs) seems promising, offering smaller, cheaper production and bearing smaller financial risk per reactor. This may explain why many countries such as France or Finland still rely on nuclear power to decarbonize their economies. Furthermore, the recent E.U.’s taxonomy on sustainable economic activities considers nuclear power a sustainable investment. Finally, the recent record-high gas prices have renewed concerns regarding the E.U.’s energy security, raising voices in favor of additional investments in nuclear energy. Yet, Germany, Denmark, Austria, and Australia, have exited and abandoned nuclear power over safety concerns. Overall, the future of nuclear remains heavily debated.
In this webinar, we will discuss the future of nuclear power for the E.U., speaking specifically about three different cases: France, Germany, and the European Eastern region. France and Germany are on opposite spectrums regarding the future development of Nuclear. While Germany decided to shut down its nuclear power plants following the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011, France announced as late as February 2022 the construction of six new nuclear power plants. The Eastern European nuclear power sector faces (at least) two issues. The first one is the development of nuclear power plants, as in the case of Poland, where according to the newest energy plan, two nuclear power plants are to be constructed in the next twenty years. The second is the diversification of nuclear fuel procurement to avoid Russia's imports.