Wednesday

16th Jan 2019

EU struggles with cost of nuclear clean-up

  • EU countries need to set aside more funds for decomissioning and cleaning up nuclear reactors (Photo: IAEA Imagebank)

Europe will need to spend €253 billion by 2050 on nuclear waste management and plant decommissioning, more than double the funds currently available, according to a report by the European Commission.

In total, decommissioning of old reactors will cost €120 billion and €130 billion will be needed for the management of spent fuel, radioactive waste and disposal processes.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

“Member states have also provided data on assets backing these expected investments, which amounted to approximately €133 billion,” EU regulators wrote in the report released on Monday (4 April).

The report is the commission's first assessment of the nuclear industry since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.

In total 129 nuclear reactors operate across 16 EU countries, providing 27 percent of the electricity in the EU.

Some 90 percent of the continent’s nuclear plants are set to shut by 2050.

The average age of reactors is 30 years, but some operators are looking into extending their lifetime by 10 to 20 years, which would require an investment of €45 to 50 billion, according to the report.

The report says €500 billion will be needed to meet the cost of building new plants and extending the lifetime of older ones.

The total estimated investment between 2015 and 2050 is between €650 and €760 billion.

EU commissioner for energy and climate Miguel Arias Canete said Europe “has learnt the lessons” of Fukushima.

“Together we should be able to identify ways to cooperate across Europe to ensure that knowledge about the safest use of nuclear power plants is shared, rather than done separately by each regulator, and that the management of radioactive waste is secured financially by member states until its final disposal,” he said in a statement.

Under EU rules, member states are responsible for waste management.

The European Greens however said the commission's data was too optimistic.

Green MEP Rebecca Harms called the report a “bizarre mixture of illusion and propaganda”.

"The commission seriously plays down the costs of nuclear power, whether as regards new construction, security upgrades, decommissioning and waste,” she said, arguing that building new facilities is not competitive.

Feature

Why Germany is digging up its nuclear waste

Germany admits it will take decades to retrieve nuclear waste from the Asse II salt mine - a "disastrous" choice for a storage location that clouds the current search for a new dumping site.

News in Brief

  1. May's Brexit deal defeated by 230 votes
  2. German economy hit by global economic turbulence
  3. MEPs narrowly call for end to 'tampon tax'
  4. MEPs back spending €6bn on fusion energy research
  5. MEPs call for 'awareness campaign' on autonomous car benefits
  6. German glyphosate report 'copy-pasted' from industry
  7. Commission set to reveal controversial common tax plan
  8. Merkel plans major EU-China summit for 2020

Stakeholder

COP24 Nordic Pavilion: sharing climate solutions with the world

The Nordic Pavilion at COP24 is dedicated to dialogue – TalaNordic – about key themes regarding the transition to a low-carbon society, such as energy, transport, urban futures, the circular economy and green financing.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. UK parliament rejects May's Brexit deal in historic defeat
  2. EU suggests majority vote on digital tax by 2025
  3. MEPs redouble appeal on sexual harassment
  4. Trump's wall vs Europe's sea
  5. Centre-right MEPs want transparency vote to be secret
  6. Germany scorns 'unusual' US threat on Russia pipeline
  7. UK parliament vote expected to prompt Brexit delay
  8. Pro-EU MEPs still see room for stopping Brexit

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us