#FORATOM highlights importance of long-term operation of existing nuclear fleet

| July 11, 2019

Ensuring the long-term operation of the European nuclear fleet will help Europe achieve its climate goals at an affordable cost, according to a position paper issued on 10 July by FORATOM. 

“The intermediate decarbonization targets in the transition towards 2050 cannot be achieved without the LTO of existing nuclear power plants,” said FORATOM Director General Yves Desbazeille. “In fact, if the EU were to invest in maintaining a fully operational nuclear fleet over this period, 58% of its electricity would come from low-carbon sources by 2030 – making it the global leader on climate change policy. If not, the share would drop to 38%, increasing the cumulative emissions by around 1,500 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030.”

Meeting the EU’s ambition to decarbonize its economy will require using all low-carbon sources and the LTO of the existing nuclear fleet will have a significant impact on this transition. An increasing number of experts recognize that nuclear will have to play an important role if the world is to reach its CO2 reduction targets by mid-century. This means investing in Europe in both LTO and the construction of substantial new nuclear capacity (around 100GW of nuclear new build). Both are achievable if EU institutions, member states and the European nuclear industry work together in partnership.

LTO offers numerous benefits. For example, it is economically advantageous compared to other power sources. This is because it requires a much lower capital investment cost, leading to low investment risks for investors and capital markets, and lower consumer costs. Furthermore, it reduces the EU’s energy import dependency on, primarily, fossil fuels and provides reliability to the grid. In addition, LTO helps the industry maintain and upgrade the competences of operators and suppliers, which will allow it to prepare for the renewal of the fleet in the future.

In order to ensure that Europe can make the most of the benefits offered by the LTO of existing nuclear reactors, FORATOM has put forward the following policy recommendations:

  • Ensure a coherent, consistent and stable EU policy framework (including Euratom).
  • Agree an ambitious net-zero CO2 emissions target for the EU in 2050, in line with the European Commission’s long-term vision for a climate neutral economy.
  • Develop and implement a strong industrial strategy to ensure that Europe maintains its technological leadership.
  • Support human competences development.

Check out the FORATOM position paper to find out more.

The European Atomic Forum (FORATOM) is the Brussels-based trade association for the nuclear energy industry in Europe. The membership of FORATOM is made up of 15 national nuclear associations. FORATOM represents nearly 3,000 European companies working in the industry, which supports around 1,100,000 jobs in the European Union.

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