The European Union’s next-generation nuclear plans will require an investment of 500 billion euros by 2050, according to the bloc’s internal market commissioner.
The regeneration plan is part of the bloc’s attempt to decarbonize its energy grid, with Thierry Breton saying the EU’s labeling of nuclear energy as a “green” alternative will be vital in attracting capital.
“Existing nuclear power plants alone will need 50 billion euros of investment by 2030. And new generation plants will need 500 billion euros,” Breton told the Journal du Dimanche.
France, where nuclear energy is the main energy supplier, has foiled the skepticism of Austria and Germany, where power stations are shut down.
Germany shut down three of its last six nuclear power plants last week, after a reactor meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011 accelerated its withdrawal from nuclear.
Scotland followed suit, shutting down its Hunterston B power plant on Friday after 46 years, which reduced the UK’s nuclear capacity by an eighth.
The EU gets around 26% of its energy from nuclear power, but that figure is expected to drop to just 15%, Breton added.
It comes as European Central Bank Director Isabel Schnabel has warned that the planned shift from fossil fuels to low-carbon alternatives could push inflation up.
Amid a wholesale gas price crisis in Europe, which began in the middle of last year, Schnabel warned that climate change policies could keep energy prices higher for longer. .
It could also force the European Central Bank to abandon its stimulus measures sooner than expected.
However, the Bank’s chief executive, Philip Lane, disagrees and predicts that energy prices will come down.
Lane told Irish television station RTE on Friday that while soaring energy prices were “a major concern” there was “less of the increase this year”. He added that he was confident that “the offer will change” and that “the pressures are likely to ease overall this year”.
The Bank is therefore committed to maintaining its accommodative monetary policy for at least a year.