Nuclear Power Cost Crisis
European Nuclear Could Need $32 Billion to Survive
Hundreds of defects have been detected in nuclear power stations across Europe, according to a European Commission report leaked to German and French media. Fixing these faults could run up a bill of €10-25 billion, the report says.
Die Welt, a German daily newspaper, says that the European Commission investigation into the continent’s nuclear fleet – originally prompted by the Fukushima nuclear disaster – paints a devastating picture of the safety measures in the EU’s nuclear power plants.
French daily Le Figaro claims that none of France’s 58 nuclear power plants met standards outlined by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Some 19 French reactors have no seismic measuring instruments, and some have inadequate safety and rescue equipment, the paper said.
Gunther Oettinger, European Commissioner for energy, is due to present the report, which examines whether Europe’s 143 nuclear power plants can withstand events like earthquakes and terrorists attacks, to fellow Commissioners tomorrow.
The Commission is then expected to propose new rules aimed at reducing the security risk for the 100,000 people across Europe who live within a 30km radius of a nuclear station.
Earlier on this year, the French Court of Auditors produced a report on France’s nuclear power fleet which showed that nuclear power will become significantly more expensive than wind power. If you are interested in finding out more about the levelised cost of wind and nuclear-powered electricity - the cost when all aspects, present and future, of electricity generation are calculated – then check out EWEA’s electricity cost calculator.
Meanwhile, the Telegraph, a paper known for its anti wind energy stance, has focused coverage on the significantly smaller amount – compared to the huge cost of the nuclear safety bill – the UK’s national grid pays to wind farm operators to switch off during stormy weather.
Wind operators are paid to switch off because the National Grid cannot cope with the extra electricity – a situation that would be alleviated with better electricity interconnections across the EU and to European countries.
The paper highlights a figure of £34 million which pales in comparison to the €10-25 billion needed for nuclear safety.