Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Spate of New Reactor Plans Gives EU an Atomic Jolt

A very good article from Deutsche Welle

New Member States are Key

Five of the 10 countries that joined the then 15-nation European Union in its 2004 expansion -- the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia -- have operating reactors. Bulgaria was made to shut down two Soviet-era reactors as a condition for EU entry despite noisy opposition. But its controversial plans to build a new reactor in Belene, near the Danube, are moving ahead. The country has already signed with Russian company Atomstroyexport to build the new plant.

Romania and the Czech republic also have plans to build new reactors. While construction has begun on plants in Romania, the Czech government is holding off on similar moves for the next four years due to the presence of the Greens in the new coalition.

Hungary and Slovakia are also discussing adding additional units, while Baltic States, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, have signed an agreement committing to the construction of a new plant at Ignalina in Lithuania. Poland has also signed a co-operation agreement with Lithuania.

'They want no part of Russian domination'

"They have to meet the Kyoto goals, and they know their economies are growing, yet they need more nuclear power to meet the low carbon demand," he added.

Under the 1997 Kyoto protocol, 39 industrialized nations agreed to cut emissions of six greenhouse gases to an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

Finally, observers note that former Soviet states are eager to be less dependent on Russia's energy monopolies in the region.

"They already know what its like to be dominated by Russia, and they want no part of trading political domination for economic domination by increasing their dependence on Russia oil and gas," wrote pro-nuke activist Rod Adams on his blog, atomicinsight.