The UK positioned itself firmly at the forefront of Europe’s nuclear expansion as it hosted the signing of a joint communique between 12 EU member states with an interest in nuclear energy. The 12 states set out their belief that nuclear energy can play a part of the EU’s future low carbon energy mix and committed to collaboration on safety and creating greater certainty for investors in low carbon infrastructure projects.
The signatories also agreed that Member States should continue to be free to determine their own energy mixes, and to press ahead with their decarbonisation objectives through the deployment of the fullest possible range of low carbon technologies. This could include renewables, carbon capture and storage (CCS), and nuclear power.
A pledge by the UK and France to work closely on research and development was underlined by a £12.5M funding commitment to the Jules Horowitz research reactor. This will allow UK-based academics and the nuclear industry guaranteed access to the reactor, and enable collaboration on safety and innovation.
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”.
John Hayes, Minister of State for Energy, said:
“Nuclear power not only provides vast amounts of low carbon electricity, but thousands of skilled jobs too. We’ve been clear on its role in a UK energy mix and I’m pleased that a significant number of European nations have today signalled the importance they attach to nuclear power.
“It’s vital that we cooperate on issues like safety and R&D. We are putting our money where our mouth is by confirming our contribution of £12.5m to the Jules Horowitz research reactor in France and guaranteeing the UK access rights to the project.”
The Czech Republic will now take forward coordination of this group of Member States and will host the next informal Ministerial meeting next year.