Canete discusses nuclear energy, waste at ENSERG conference

Miguel Canete speaks at the earlier Conference on Driving Decarbonization of Road Transport on June 18.
Miguel Canete speaks at the earlier Conference on Driving Decarbonization of Road Transport on June 18. | Courtesy of the European Commission
European Union (EU) Commissioner of Climate Action and Energy Miguel Canete discussed nuclear energy and nuclear waste in a speech at the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) conference in Brussels on Tuesday.
Canete spoke of the role that nuclear energy could play in the energy spectrum within the EU and challenges that will need to be addressed in the management, transport and disposal of nuclear waste and byproducts.

He said that the EU has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent and combating that with a minimum of 27 percent of energy generation coming from renewable sources and the same percentage in increased energy efficiency by 2030.
Half of the member states of the EU utilize nuclear power in some form. Canete said that current nuclear power plants provide 30 percent of total EU electricity generation and 50 percent of its low carbon energy. With this in mind, he said, future energy plans will involve nuclear power.

Up until recently, the management of nuclear waste was given a lower priority as nuclear programs where in their initial stages.

"(As) Europe's nuclear capacity comes to age we will soon be moving to a new stage in the industry, which means the back end of the fuel cycle will have to get substantial more attention," Canete said. "Investment in this area by operators will have to increase and difficult political decisions have to be made regarding long term geological disposal."

In 2013, member states where required to submit policies that described how radioactive waste would be managed. Canete said that beginning in August, member states will be submitting these plans. The commission also intends to ensure the full implementation of the directive across the union.
Canete also spoke on research and investment issues and stressed the importance of investing in research and development in the entire fuel cycle.

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