Friday, February 13, 2009

Expansion of Nuclear Power in Europe

The combination of aggressive carbon emission reduction targets and concerns about the security of gas supplies from Russia is driving a pretty rapid expansion of nuclear power in Europe.

The Swedes have just repealed a law requiring them to phase out nuclear power and seem likely to join the list of countries building new plants.

Several European countries are opting for nuclear energy and there is concern about the reliability of Russian-supplied fuel after Moscow's gas dispute with Ukraine last month.

Poland wants its first nuclear plant by 2020 and Britain decided last year to replace its ageing nuclear reactors and create new sites. France has ordered its 61st nuclear generator and Finland is building the largest reactor in the world, which is expected to open in 2011.

Sweden has some of the most ambitious greenhouse-gas targets in the world and plans to become carbon neutral by 2050. It wants to abolish fossil fuels as a heating source by 2020 and use half of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.

"The nuclear phase-out law will be abolished," a government spokesman said yesterday. "The ban in the nuclear technology law on new construction will also be abolished."

As Larvatus Prodeo notes, even the enormous cost blowouts we associate with nuclear power are not dampening enthusiasm in Finland.

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