EU opinion & policy debates - across languages |

event.png The third debate organised by the European Movement International in association with ENEL and with the media support of EurActiv took place yesterday, 2nd July, in Brussels.

It especially addressed the role of nuclear energy in the EU and tackled the following issues: Can nuclear energy contribute to the new energy goals of the EU, namely independence, sustainability and low emissions? What about its potential harmfulness to the environment? Should the EU preferably invest its money to develop the nuclear energy sector or rather keep options open? Shouldn’t renewable energies also be considered?

The debate was moderated by Pat Cox, President of the European Movement.

The introduction was made by Nina Commeau (Adviser to Deputy Director General, DG Energy and Transport – European Commission). In her introductory speech, Nina Commeau particularly underlined the importance of maintaining and developing the competitiveness of the EU in our current globalised world with energy – along with climate change – being a essential issue in this context.  Nuclear energy expansion should play a major role and the EU should continue to be the leader in this industrial sector.

Below is the panel of the five speakers of the conference.

Giancarlo Aquilanti, Head of the Nuclear Technology Area, ENEL.

In his presentation, Giancarlo Aquilanti stressed on the necessity of developing nuclear energy particularly in Italy to satisfy the increasing demand.
It would appear to be the only cost-effective solution also producing very low levels of carbon dioxide emissions from its full life cycle. It would be closely comparable with renewables such as wind, solar and hydro in this respect.

Monica Frassoni, Co-President of the Greens, European Parliament

Monica Frassoni stated that nuclear energy should not be seen as the “panacea”. Indeed, nuclear energy remains a costly solution and appears to be the source of a lot of accidents. Renewable energies offers opportunities that should be more taken into consideration. You can also read her interview here.

Edit Herczog, MEP, European Socialist Party

In her PowerPoint presentation, MEP Edit Herczog noted that nuclear energy’s support from the European Parliament has significantly increased since 2004. Nuclear energy is remains high on the EP’s agenda.

  • 11 purely nuclear energy 2004-2007
  • 18 plenary resolutions touch on nuclear 2004-2007

Willy De Backer, Independent Energy, Environment & Ecological Economics journalist

Though admitting that nuclear energy is very important to develop, Willy De Backer underlined that it can only be a medium-term solution because:

  1. nuclear energy is very slow to deploy,
  2. is too much expansive compared to renewable energies and needs a lot of public investment,
  3. and finally doesn’t solve the problem of CO2 emissions.

He also stated that “we should not build our 21th century global energy system century only on one resource” and advocated for a more “decentralized energy system” exploring alternative solutions. EU Member States should keep the options open.

Bruno Comby, Writer and Founder of Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy

Stating that a major energy crisis is down the road, the environmentalist Bruno Comby stressed that “the world needs a lot more energy conservation, renewable energies and clean nuclear energy are necessary”. You can also see his interview here.

Author :
EurActiv Network