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UK joins EU nuclear collaboration

New partnership could lead to an opposition to 2030 renewable targets

UK ministers sign nuclear energy communique

The UK has taken another step towards securing the future of nuclear energy by signing a report setting out the part that nuclear will play in a low carbon future.

The UK and France has also set out a £12m commitment to researching and developing nuclear at the  Jules Horowitz research reactor.

The government has ‘positioned itself firmly at the forefront of Europe’s nuclear expansion’ it said following the agreement.

UK ministers believe they have placed the nation at the forefront of creating low-carbon nuclear power plants by signing an official report with 11 other EU nations.

Signed by Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Spain, the report is an agreement by the nations to collaborate on safety measures and improve investor certainty.

Edward Davey, UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said: “It’s vital for our economy that we work with our European partners to make the EU a leading destination for investment in new low-carbon energy infrastructure.

“This communiqué signals a move to a stronger, better and closer working relationship between Member States on nuclear energy. By working together to enable low carbon energy projects to come forward we will go some way to reducing the EU’s carbon emissions and ensuring greater energy security”.

The brief also implies that the signatories have the ability to oppose recent EU plans for news renewable energy targets of 30 per cent for 2030.

Nuclear versus renewable

Rising concerns about the true cost of nuclear power were recently voiced by npower boss Paul Massara:

“We are very concerned that decisions currently being taken around guaranteed revenue from new nuclear power stations in return for their delivery could force the next three generations of British consumers to pay an unexpected and perhaps unnecessarily high bill for the next 40 years, especially given the track record of delivery of nuclear power stations.”

Meanwhile, the UK only generates 3 per cent of its energy from renewable sources; this low number has led to considerations of importing green energy from Ireland.

“Trading power with Ireland could increase the amount of green power in our energy mix and potentially bring down costs for UK consumers. Making the most of the natural renewable resource available around our islands could benefit the economies of both countries,” stated Davey in January.