The European Union will have to invest 500 billion euros ($ 568 billion) in new generation nuclear power plants by 2050, the bloc’s internal market commissioner said in an interview published this weekend.
“Existing nuclear power plants alone will need 50 billion euros of investment by 2030. And new generation plants will need 500 billion!” Thierry Breton told the Journal du Dimanche.
Breton also argued that an EU plan to label nuclear power and natural gas as “green” sources of investment was a vital step in attracting such capital.
The EU is consulting its member states on this proposal, with internal disagreement on whether energy sources can truly be considered sustainable options.
France has led the charge for nuclear power – its main power source – to be included, despite strong opposition from Austria and skepticism from Germany, which is shutting down all of its nuclear power plants.
The proposal states that the European Commission “considers that natural gas and nuclear power have a role to play in facilitating the transition to a future mainly based on renewable energies”.
Currently, the bloc gets 26% of its energy from nuclear power, but Breton estimated that by 2050 that would be reduced to around 15%.
The proposal also states that for nuclear energy, appropriate measures should be put in place for the management and disposal of radioactive waste.
And he calls for the construction of new nuclear power plants to be conditional on authorizations issued before 2045, while work to extend the operation of existing plants should be authorized before 2040.