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The European Union will need up to $462 billion (450 billion euros) in investment just to keep the current level of its nuclear power generation capacity, the EU Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, said at a nuclear energy forum this week.
Nuclear power will have an important role to play in the EU’s climate targets of low-carbon electricity generation, Simson said at the European Nuclear Energy Forum in Prague.
“The backbone of the future European carbon free power system will be predominantly renewables. But the reality is that these renewables will need to be complemented with a stable baseload electricity production. This is why nuclear energy is not just a safety and security concern, but also a real solution,” she added.
This year, a year when surging energy prices have highlighted the importance of energy security, the EU is particularly focused on its nuclear power availability.
According to the EU modeling, nuclear power generation will account for around 15%-16% of the EU’s power output in 2030 and 2050, Simson said.
The EU needs a stable generation capacity, at the level of just over 100 GW, in the coming decades. Yet, a lot of investment will be needed to keep that generation capacity in the future.
“Our analysis shows that without immediate investment, around 90% of existing reactors would be shut down around the time when we need them most – in 2030,” Simson noted.
The EU will need between $360 billion (350 billion euros) and $462 billion (450 billion euros) of investment just to maintain the current generation capacity, and another up to $51.3 billion (50 billion euros) in the long-term operation of existing reactors, according to the EU commissioner.
New technology, such as Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), could be the solution to integrate the energy system and decarbonize the sectors that pose the biggest challenge, said Simson, adding that the EU aims to have the first European SMRs go live in the early 2030s.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.