The shift in attitude has been seen not only in national capitals but also in Brussels. Speaking at a ‘Nuclear Energy 2.0’ event organized by French utility EDF, Finnish utility Fortum and Swedish utility Vattenfall earlier this month, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton acknowledged that the Commission’s thinking has shifted. Europe’s historic split on nuclear power has meant that EU involvement in the sector has so far been mostly limited to safety and waste decommissioning via initiatives such as the Euratom Research and Training Programme. For the moment, the specifics of the initiative are unclear, including the timing.

These are big projects, and even the small nuclear reactors (SMRs) currently coming into focus require quite a bit of up-front cash. The sector, which recently formed a pan-European alliance, presented a series of recommendations for how to get the finance moving to Commission Executive Vice President Maros Sefcovic at the event. These include giving nuclear equal funding opportunities to solar and wind, by defining all as net-zero technologies, extending EU funds to financing nuclear, targeting funds to industrial scale-up and European supply chains, and funding training and reskilling opportunities to attract workers to the sector.

They’ve also asked for public financial support such as the creation of a European sovereignty fund dedicated to net zero technologies including nuclear, and for financing from the European Investment Bank to support projects across the spectrum of all nuclear technologies. But EIB Vice-President Thomas Östros recently suggested the bank remains cautious about providing money for nuclear.

Source: Euractiv

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