Nuclear energy: New report highlights nuclear decline in spite of industry talk of renaissance
The role of nuclear energy is in decline, according to a report 'World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2007' presented by the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament today. The report outlines that the proportion of nuclear energy in power production has decreased in 21 out of 31 countries, with five less functioning nuclear reactors than five years ago. There are currently 32 nuclear power plants under construction or in the pipeline, 20 fewer than at the end of the 1990s. Commenting on the report and this nuclear decline, German Green MEP and energy spokesperson Rebecca Harms stated:
"In stark contrast to the claims of the nuclear industry and its talk of a renaissance, nuclear energy is in decline. The shrinking of nuclear in Europe is particularly notable, with ten power plants being permanently withdrawn from the network since the last report in 2004.With fewer plants being built and existing plants becoming more decrepit, it seems clear that the grandiose ambitions of the nuclear industry will remain in the realm of fantasy."
False promises for a nuclear revival could lead to misplaced public expenditure, delaying a more intelligent and sustainable approach to energy supply. In addition, plans for building new reactors would be in direct competition for the limited manufacturing capacity that is already stretched by the maintenance costs for existing (aging) reactors.
"The gap between the expectations being promoted by the nuclear industry and reality are perfectly highlighted by the bungled attempt to build a new reactor at the Olkiluoto plant in Finland. This first new nuclear project in 15 years has been blighted by problems.After only two years of construction the project is already two years delayed and the budget is set to be overrun by at least 50%, with 1.5 billion euro in losses and shocking errors in key technical specifications. Clearly, talk of a nuclear revival is divorced from reality and political leaders must call the nuclear industry's bluff," continued Rebecca Harms.
"Nuclear energy is fraught with risk and these risks have in no way diminished. Attempts to position nuclear power as the panacea for climate change are misleading and dangerous. This report reveals that a nuclear revival is unlikely. We must ignore the nuclear smokescreen and focus on proven, clean technologies in response to the climate crisis we are facing."
Richard More O' Ferrall
The Greens/EFA in the European Parliament
Tel: Brussels +32 2 2841667 / Strasburg +33 3 88174375
Fax: 0032 2 2844944