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NUCLEAR ENERGY POLICY FORUM: NNWE calls for harmonisation of safety requirements for new nuclear build


02 Dec 2016



Tim Yeo, Chairman of New Nuclear Watch Europe (NNWE) today hosted the second in a series of Brussels-based Nuclear Energy Policy Forum events organised by the nuclear interest group. NNWE calls on pro-nuclear countries across Europe to work together and harmonise safety requirements for new nuclear build. Standardisation of safety requirements will help to reduce the cost of new nuclear to the benefit of consumers and governments alike.

Commenting on the event, Chairman of NNWE, Tim Yeo said: “The implications of the recent US Presidential election for climate change mean that the world needs nuclear energy as much as it did prior to the election and possibly even more so. A significant element of nuclear power in the energy mix is the best way to maintain energy security, while simultaneously meeting carbon emissions reduction targets”.

“However, for nuclear power to achieve its potential it must be cost competitive compared to other fuel sources. Harmonising the safety requirements for nuclear new build, which vary considerably across the EU and its neighbouring countries, will drive costs down and allow the technology to compete on economic grounds. NNWE urges pro-nuclear countries across Europe to work together to enable nuclear power to play a full and important part in the future, low carbon energy mix”.

At today’s event, attended by representatives from across the EU Institutions and the nuclear sector, NNWE asked whether the lack of harmonised safety requirements have made nuclear plants too expensive to build, and sought answers on how to ensure that safety requirements do not stifle new nuclear build, but encourage and promote it.

Speaking at the event, Dalibor Mateju, Former Board member of ČEZ and former Head of UJV Branch Office in Ankara supporting Türkiye Atom Enerjisi Kurumu (TAEK), said: “Standardisation of safety requirements would be a significant step forward for delivering cost reduction. If standardisation is not applied, anti-nuclear lobbying groups will continue in a strategy of stricter and stricter safety requirements with a goal of increasing the cost of construction of nuclear power plants so that the return on investment becomes impossible”.

Professor Laurence Williams, Imperial College, London, UK said: “The safe use of nuclear energy depends upon competent nuclear licensees that understand fully the technology they are using and strong, independent and competent nuclear safety regulators. The delivery of safe nuclear power and the application of strong nuclear regulation are not incompatible”.

Also speaking at the event, Mikhail Pigulevsky, Nuclear Safety and Technology Expert, Belorussian Nuclear Power Plant, said: “The design we chose for the Belorussian nuclear power plant is a generation III+, with a good operational track-record and, as per IEAE and WANO data, one of the most safe and reliable in the world. Thanks to the economies of scale the vendor can enjoy, the final electricity price is very competitive”.

In the light of the recent publication of the European Commission’s Winter Energy Package, Dmitry Sukhanov, General Director, AtomEnergoPromsbyt, commented: “Nuclear power is a reliable and efficient source of carbon-free baseload supply. Given the decommissioning of baseload power in the EU, the important contribution of nuclear power imported from neighbouring countries should be recognised. For example, the Baltic nuclear power plant currently under construction will provide for the export of up to 100% of its power output to the EU markets. The project promotes the development of interconnections, integration of electricity markets, improved reliability and CO2 emission reduction.



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Notes to Editors

  1. NNWE was founded at the end of 2014 to help ensure nuclear power is recognised as an important and desirable way for European governments to provide affordable, secure, low carbon energy and help to meet the long-term energy needs of their citizens.
  2. Membership of NNWE is open to all companies, individuals and organisations active in the nuclear industry including those involved in the supply chain. More information is available at
  3. Tim Yeo is Chair of New Nuclear Watch Europe and the University of Sheffield Industrial Advisory Board for the Energy 2050 initiative. He is a former Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and was Chair of the Environmental Audit Select Committee from 2005-2010 and then Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee from 2010-2015.
  4. The Nuclear Energy Policy Forum, organised by NNWE, aims to shine a spotlight on the critical challenges facing the European nuclear industry.