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EU must earmark $505 billion to sustain current nuclear output

IANS | Prague |

The European Union said it will need to invest between 350 and 450 billion euro ($393-$505 billion) through 2050 in order to maintain its current level of nuclear power output, officials said.

The European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete spoke during the 12th plenary meeting of the European Nuclear Energy Forum here, which is outlining what steps the EU and national governments must follow to ensure the safe operation of nuclear power plants in Europe and treatment of radioactive waste.

There are currently 129 nuclear power plants in 14 EU member countries with a combined output of 120 GWe although these facilities have been in operation for around 30 years, Efe news reported.

Due to their age and unless they are extensively upgraded, "90 per cent of these reactors will shut down by 2030," said Arias Cañete.

Regardless of the criticism atomic energy may generate, Arias Cañete assured that nuclear energy in the EU "is not dead" as there are currently plans to build nuclear power plants in 10 countries.

There are four reactors currently under construction in Finland, France, and Slovakia, while a further three reactors are currently seeking their operational license in Finland, Hungary and Britain.

A further five are under development in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland and Rumania.

Article 194 of the EU treaty establishes the choice between different energy sources and the general structure of a country's energy supply is purely a "sovereign decision" taken by each member state, Arias Cañete said.