Wroclaw, Poland — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 20 September 2011 – Plans by Germany and other European Union states to abandon nuclear power because of fears stirred by the latest disaster in Japan, reinforce the need for joint action and magnify the bloc’s problems over security of energy supply.
So says a document, seen by Reuters, which is the latest text from the European Commission to urge all 27 member nations to put collective energy needs above domestic agendas. It could rile countries such as Germany, which has unilaterally decided to phase out all its atomic plants by 2022. And Italy, which has voted to ban nuclear power for decades.
Poland, as holder of the rotating EU presidency is hosting two days of informal EU energy minister talks here. It confirmed that Germany’s abandoning nuclear power and the need for EU-wide infrastructure were on the agenda of a breakfast debate today.
“We emphasise the need of shifting towards a lower emissions economy,” economy minister Waldemar Pawlak told reporters. “We emphasise the need for a comprehensive approach.”
Poland’s deputy economy minister Hanna Trojanowska told Reuters in an interview earlier this month that the nation would not abandon its nuclear plans even though an opinion poll found 51% of Poles were opposed to them.
Nuclear-generated electricity is carbon-free and many governments have viewed it as crucial to reducing planet-warming emissions while maintaining reliable supplies.
The European Union’s reaction to Japan’s series of tsunamis, and the resulting nuclear disaster earlier this year, has been to order stress tests to determine the safety of nuclear reactors.
A commission support paper drawn up ahead of today’s breakfast talks said less nuclear power reinforced the need for an EU-wide power grid, which the European Commission aimed to achieve by 2014.
“This has highlighted the fact that in an inter-connected energy system all member states are affected by decisions taken at national level, and therefore have legitimate interests in ensuring they are effectively coordinated,” the paper added.