Europeans have a love-hate relationship with nuclear power. Despite several European countries deciding to freeze or close their nuclear power programmes following the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011, around 30% of the electricity in the EU is still generated by nuclear power plants, coming from 132 plants in 14 EU member states. Moreover, four reactors are now under construction and another 17 are planned over the next few years.
We have already published a couple of debates on nuclear power (here and here), including an overview of the pros and cons of nuclear energy. However, after the upcoming European Parliament elections in May, important decisions about the future of nuclear energy will be made in Brussels. This means it’s important to decide now which party you will be voting for in May (and you can show your support now in our Debating Europe Vote 2014). How much do YOU want the EU to rely on nuclear energy in the future?
Whereas Fukushima and Chernobyl clearly illustrated the dangers of nuclear power, might it nevertheless provide a reliable source of energy in a world with growing energy needs? Especially when traditional energy resources are becoming scarcer? Moreover, although the construction of nuclear power plants is expensive, generating energy from nuclear reactors involves relatively low CO2 emission costs and reduces dependency on unstable political regimes. As such, the Centre-Right, Liberal Democrats and Eurosceptics in the European Parliament believe that nuclear energy will remain an important source of energy in the future. Likewise, the Conservatives highlight the importance of nuclear power, arguing that it provides a more reliable supply of energy and less dependence on non-EU countries.
In contrast, however, the Left ideologies believe that nuclear energy should be phased out entirely in the EU. The Social Democrats ask for more EU-authorized stress tests. Meanwhile, the Greens are calling for a rapid exit strategy out of nuclear energy, arguing that full energy security cannot be guaranteed as long as nuclear power exist in the EU. Instead, they are aiming for a 100% renewable energy based economy by 2050.
How dependent on nuclear energy do YOU want the EU to be in future? Does closing down nuclear power plants in the EU make us too dependent on energy imports? Will renewables provide enough energy to phase out nuclear power altogether? Let your voice be heard by voting for the political ideology that represents YOUR ideas in Debating Europe Vote2014!