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Energy Crisis and Nuclear Energy in the EU

The energy crisis of recent months, but also the urgent need for a transition to a green energy economy, have brought nuclear power back to the spotlight as a way of generating electricity.

The nuclear energy produced today with existing technologies is released through a process called nuclear fission, in which uranium and plutonium nuclei separate and release energy. Nuclear power is a low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels and is a key component of the energy mix of fourteen of the twenty-seven Member States of the European Union, accounting for 26% of the electricity produced in the EU. 

Nuclear power is a low-carbon alternative, accounting today for 26% of the electricity produced in the EU.  

One of the major advantages of nuclear power compared to other forms of low-carbon energy is its power density and the ability to generate large amounts of power using less space. Simply put, comparing energy forms, nuclear power can deliver more power per square meter (land use) like fossil fuels, unlike other forms of zero-carbon energy that need large areas of land to deliver the equivalent power.  

Member States of the European Union with nuclear reactors

The data are from the World Nuclear Association

However, since the nuclear disasters at Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima in Japan in 2011, nuclear power has been highly controversial. Germany's decision to phase out nuclear power by 2020 and the temporary closure of two reactors in Belgium after the discovery of cracks in their compartments have increased the pressure to phase out nuclear power in the European Union. However, it is up to the Member States to choose whether or not to include nuclear power in their energy mix. 

Future Trends

It is generally known that the production of nuclear energy is accompanied by problems such as its cost, accidents, waste and the fact that the fuel can be used for weapons systems. However, there are voices of scientists and energy experts discussing that it is unlikely that there can be a climate-neutral future without the contribution of nuclear energy to the energy mix. 

The challenge here is to develop new technologies for nuclear energy production, not by conventional fission of radioactive materials, but by fusion. This technology is not based on the separation of atoms (fission) but on their fusion. This technology is currently being researched and developed and one material that is being widely tested is hydrogen, which is abundant on the planet. Fusion is considered safer in terms of the production process to avoid accidents. However, some practical issues arise, such as the cost and complexity of the process and waste management.  

At E-ON INTEGRATION, we are closely monitoring developments and our goal is to accurately quantify all issues, such as risks, opportunities and metrics, arising from the energy and climate crisis. As part of our work an assessment of the economic impact of these risks/opportunities is conducted as well as a clear description of the resilience of the business model and strategy of the stakeholder based on the climate scenarios. Our entire methodology is fully based on an IT tool, which among other things uses data from external databases, Climate Change Risk Assessment. 


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