Keywords: nuclear energy, nuclear power, Europe, sustainable development, supply security, air pollution, climate change, waste management, nuclear proliferation, reactor safety, energy economics, public acceptance, sustainability, nuclear capacity
Prospects for nuclear energy in Europe
This paper adds to the debate about the role of nuclear power in sustainable development by providing an overview of its current status and future prospects in Europe. The main economic and environmental concerns that nuclear energy could mitigate – energy dependency, air pollution and climate change – are analysed over three time frames. Particularly important are five problematic features of nuclear energy: waste management, proliferation security, operation safety, economic competitiveness and public acceptance. The main conclusion is that Europe's nuclear capacity is unlikely to change significantly over the next two decades. Its prospects beyond 2025 will depend on the relative weight given to the benefits and drawbacks of nuclear power, as well as the long-term sustainability implications of the use of all energy resources.