In recent months, French supporters of nuclear energy have benefited from reinforcements. It was necessary for it to obtain a classification in “sustainable” finance. A label also awarded to gas by the European Commission, Wednesday February 2, in order to direct future investments by the private sector.
Jean-Bernard Lévy, Chairman and CEO of the French electrician EDF, talks about a “long battle”. Indeed, nuclear energy has its defenders, in particular for its very low carbon dioxide emissions, but also its critics, in particular because of the delicate storage of waste. At the beginning of January, Mr. Lévy counted “a dozen pro-nuclear states within the European Union, including states that were not pro-nuclear and are becoming so”. « Many people (…) agree with its necessity”, he added. Even some, according to him, who had previously “anti-nuclear in the blood, for years of activism or political commitment”.
In October 2021, ministers from ten countries signed a forum in support of nuclear production, published among others by Le Figaro. Among the arguments, that of the need for“energy independence”, in full panic of energy prices, in particular those linked to gas imports. With 56 units, France owns more than half of the reactors among the countries concerned. This is followed by the Czech Republic, Finland – where even ecologists are now advocating for the atom –, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia. If Croatia does not have a power station on its territory, it gets its supplies from the one located across the Slovenian border. Poland plans to establish one in turn to get out of coal, the most polluting of fuels, still predominant in its electricity mix.
Possibility of adapting the supply to the electrical demand
In addition to this list, it is also worth mentioning the Netherlands. Since December 2021, in its new coalition agreement, ranging from the conservatives to the center left, the Dutch government has provided for the construction of two reactors in addition to the one already existing. To a lesser degree, a change in tone can also be observed in Italy, where a referendum in 1987, one year after the Chernobyl disaster (Ukraine), nevertheless led to the exit from nuclear power. The prospect of fourth-generation reactors now has at least one defender, since the summer of 2021, in the person of the Minister for Ecological Transition, the physicist Roberto Cingolani, former director of the Genoa Institute of Technology.
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