Europe Is in the Middle of a Messy Nuclear Slowdown

Germany has almost finished phasing out nuclear plants, and aging infrastructure is leading neighbors down the same path. But will green energy goals suffer?

1/22/2022 11:39:00 AM

If there’s any lesson we can draw from Europe’s nuclear dilemma, it’s that the pathway to clean electricity is littered with obstacles: political, economical, and ideological. Via WIREDUK

Germany has almost finished phasing out nuclear plants, and aging infrastructure is leading neighbors down the same path. But will green energy goals suffer?

, while the Polish government wants to build the country’s first nuclear reactor in a bid to move away from its heavy dependence on coal.But even countries that have enthusiastically stuck to nuclear power are experiencing the troubles that come with aging reactor fleets and delayed building schedules. At the end of 2021,

17 of France’s 56nuclear reactors were paused because of planned maintenance or technical problems, forcing the country—which is usually a net exporter of electricity—to buy from its neighbors. In the UK, nuclear electricity generation fell last year to its lowest level since 1981 due to retirements and outages at aging plants, according to an analysis by

Read more: WIRED »

‘Power Book II: Ghost’ Star Gianni Paolo Talks ... by TMZ Verified

Read more >>

WiredUK yes, DONT SHUT DOWN NUKES UNTIL YOU HAVE ALTERNATIVE!!!!! WiredUK Spain and it’s rising energy prices should be mentioned in this article too

least two new nuclear reactors , while the Polish government wants to build the country’s first nuclear reactor in a bid to move away from its heavy dependence on coal. But even countries that have enthusiastically stuck to nuclear power are experiencing the troubles that come with aging reactor fleets and delayed building schedules. At the end of 2021, 17 of France’s 56 nuclear reactors were paused because of planned maintenance or technical problems, forcing the country—which is usually a net exporter of electricity—to buy from its neighbors. In the UK, nuclear electricity generation fell last year to its lowest level since 1981 due to retirements and outages at aging plants, according to an analysis by Carbon Brief . The shortfall in the UK’s nuclear generation was plugged with electricity from gas-fired power plants and imports from Europe. The problem is that not enough new nuclear reactors are being constructed to fill these gaps. And those that are coming online aren’t being built quickly enough. The UK will retire six of its nuclear reactors by 2030, but it only has one power plant currently under construction: a two-reactor facility being built in Somerset. The UK government is hoping to secure a deal for another identical plant at a site in Suffolk. But even if this is approved, the two plants together will only match the existing capacity of the UK’s nuclear fleet. France’s latest nuclear reactor, meanwhile, was meant to come online in Normandy in 2013, but frequent delays have pushed its opening date back to 2023 . These lengthy time scales mean that building new nuclear power plants might not be the best way for countries to decarbonize rapidly. The UK and Germany have both set targets to end electricity generation from fossil fuel by 2035, which is too short a timescale to add much significant nuclear power. “You cannot build a nuclear plant in that time frame,” says Dries Acke, director of energy systems at the think tank European Climate Foundation. And while the construction of new plants has been sluggish, wind and solar power have been deployed at a faster rate than expected. “What’s happened is that renewables have dominated deployment in the EU,” says Antony Frogatt, deputy director of Chatham House’s environment and society program and a coauthor of an annual report critiquing the nuclear power industry . In 2000, 860 terawatt-hours of electricity were generated from nuclear power in the EU, but by 2020 that had declined to 685 terawatt-hours. Over the same time period, wind generation alone went from 21 to 396 terawatt-hours. Meanwhile, the cost of renewable energy plummeted in comparison to nuclear energy. The French government is hoping a new kind of reactor could provide a boost for its nuclear efforts. French president Emmanuel Macron has announced a €30 billion ($35 billion) investment plan that includes funding for small modular reactors—lower-capacity plants would theoretically be faster and cheaper to build and could be placed in areas