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The Exorbitant Cost of the Phasing-Out of Nuclear Power

Par MarkBA — Travail personnel, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Public opinion in several European countries is clearly in favor of the abandonment of nuclear energy. We are here not taking sides for or against the use of nuclear energy. One thing is crystal clear: the decommissioning of nuclear power stations across the European continent will probably exert huge pressure on public finances. But the first challenge will be to secure the energy transition. In brief, here is the prevailing situation in the 3 countries in Europe having the highest share of electricity produced in nuclear reactors. France, with a rate of 76%, is even number one in the world.Its project is to reduce the nuclear share of electricity production to 50% by 2025. Germans decided in 2011 to get out of nuclear power and set as their objective the closure of their nuclear power plants by 2022. They focus on renewable energies. In contrast, the UK confirms its nuclear energy policy and plans to renew and even increase its nuclear power stations. Now concerning the cost of decommissioning of the plants. The vast majority of competent authorities seriously underestimate the real cost of these operations. The European Commission itself stressed that Europe was short of more than € 118 billion to dismantle its nuclear plants and manage nuclear waste storage and that the total cost was estimated at around € 270 billion. Nevertheless, one has to question the reliability of that figure. Especially in light of a very recent report which estimated the cost of phasing out of nuclear power -only for France- to an amount of at least € 217 billion (Re.Institut Montaigne). As things stand currently, the main countries and operators involved in the shutdown of nuclear power production have set aside totally insufficient amounts. As a result, we can predict that the taxpayers of these countries will ultimately have to pay these considerable sums.

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