Eleven EU countries launch alliance for nuclear power in Europe

French energy transition minister Agnès-Pannier Runacher, who initiated the meeting, said the objective of the alliance was “to structure cooperation on the whole nuclear value chain” and provide Europe “with all the tools to reach carbon neutrality by 2050”. [@Sweden2023EU / Flickr]

On February 28, eleven European nations pledged to “cooperate more closely” throughout the complete nuclear supply chain and to support “common industrial projects” in new generation capacity as well as cutting-edge technologies like small reactors.
According to a statement released on Tuesday, the signatories signed a declaration in Stockholm with the intention of “jointly reaffirming their desire to enhance European collaboration in the field of nuclear energy” (28 February).
The declaration, which was signed on the sidelines of a meeting of EU energy ministers organised by Sweden, the current holder of the EU’s six-month rotating presidency, states that “Nuclear energy is one of many tools to achieve our climate goals, to generate baseload electricity and to ensure security of supply.”

The alliance’s goal, according to French Energy Transition Minister Agnès-Pannier Runacher, who convened the meeting, is “to structure cooperation on the entire nuclear value chain” and give Europe “all the tools to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.”
Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia are among the eleven participants. An EU official verified that Kadri Simson, the EU’s energy commissioner, attended the meeting as well.

“Common industrial projects”

According to the joint declaration, the cooperation’s goals include advancing study and innovation as well as assisting in the establishment of “uniform safety rules in accordance with best international practise.”
It is crucial to note that it also aims to “strengthen industrial collaboration in the development of European nuclear capacity” and to investigate “common industrial projects” for new reactors.
After the meeting, Pannier-Runacher told reporters, “It was a very good discussion that made it feasible to highlight common issues.”

These concerns, according to her, “are those of innovation and new SMR reactors, the problem of skills, the authorisation of new facilities,” as well as cooperation on current installations and nuclear subcontracting.
Along with the eleven energy ministers, Commissioner Simson attended the meeting and encouraged the participants to diversify their nuclear fuel sources and actively engage in collaborations on small modular reactors (SMRs).
Participants also “felt the need to work on a regulatory or legal structure for nuclear,” Pannier-Runacher said, so that the technology can fully contribute to decarbonizing the European economy “without obviously opposing it to renewable energies.”
The goal, according to the French minister’s cabinet, is to give nuclear a bigger voice in all legislative documents up for discussion in the EU institutions.
Anna Moskwa, the minister of energy for Poland, who attended the meeting, stated: “I think this is not the final move. We do not rule out further discussions of the nuclear problem, she said in remarks cited by the French news outlet Contexte.
Even though Pannier-Runacher said the alliance was open to new members, Italy, which had been expected to join, ultimately declined to sign the joint statement.

Despite expressing interest in joining the group, Sweden decided to remain neutral at the meeting because it presently holds the rotating EU presidency.
Nevertheless, Stockholm and Paris seem dedicated to expanding their nuclear cooperation.
The cabinet of Agnès Pannier-Runacher stated, “On a bilateral basis, we are developing an energy partnership about nuclear power with Sweden,” adding that “a letter of intent” was being drafted to that end.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson visited Paris on January 3, and during his stay, the two countries discussed possible areas of cooperation, including “wind power, hydroelectric power, and stable, fossil-free nuclear energy.”
The Swedish government can consider a potential partnership with the French electricity utility EDF, according to the French energy ministry.

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