Friday

27th May 2022

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

EU Commission extends borrowing curbs in 2023

The European Commission on Monday proposed to extend suspension of fiscal borrowing rule in 2023 — but advised prudence amid already rising real interest rates.

Commission grilled on RePowerEU €210bn pricetag

EU leaders unveiled a €210bn strategy aiming to cut Russian gas out of the European energy equation before 2027 and by two-thirds before the end of the year — but questions remain on how it is to be financed.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch journalists sue EU over banned Russia TV channels
  2. EU holding €23bn of Russian bank reserves
  3. Russia speeds up passport process in occupied Ukraine
  4. Palestinian civil society denounce Metsola's Israel visit
  5. Johnson refuses to resign after Downing Street parties report
  6. EU border police has over 2,000 agents deployed
  7. Dutch tax authorities to admit to institutional racism
  8. Rutte calls for EU pension and labour reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. EU summit will be 'unwavering' on arms for Ukraine
  2. Orbán's new state of emergency under fire
  3. EU parliament prevaricates on barring Russian lobbyists
  4. Ukraine lawyer enlists EU watchdog against Russian oil
  5. Right of Reply: Hungarian government
  6. When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin
  7. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  8. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us