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The European Commission's assessment of nuclear power plants in Europe, published today, risks stoking disproportionate and unbalanced concerns that could severely damage the prospects of a carbon-neutral electricity sector by 2050, EURELECTRIC has cautioned.
Nuclear safety is of the utmost importance for the nuclear power plant operators among EURELECTRIC's members, and EURELECTRIC has therefore fully supported the European stress test exercise since its inception last year. However, we are concerned that the assessment published today de-emphasises - and thereby undermines - the actual findings of that process.
"EURELECTRIC members are fully committed to enhancing the safety of nuclear power plants wherever necessary. They have done so for decades and will keep doing it for decades to come. Ensuring the highest level of nuclear safety is crucial to maintaining public trust. Above all, we are pleased that the issue of nuclear safety and security is being tackled comprehensively at European level rather than through isolated national efforts. However, we feel that today's Communication, while raising a number of valid points, is shifting attention away from the essential results of the stress test process, which, let's not forget, have not established the need for any European nuclear power plant closures. The stress tests were conducted by qualified experts and have been subject to an extensive peer review process. They deserve greater recognition: what is the point of the exercise if the Commission conclusions do not adequately reflect the results?" said Jozsef Bajsz, Chairman of EURELECTRIC's nuclear working group.
According to EURELECTRIC's Power Choices study, conducted in 2009, nuclear energy - along with renewables, carbon capture and storage and energy efficiency - will play a significant role in Europe's low-carbon electricity mix and in moving Europe's power sector to carbon-neutrality by 2050.
EURELECTRIC supports a power generation technology mix of 'use them all' within the given framework of carbon neutrality, while recognising member states' prerogative to determine their national energy mix, including nuclear.