THE WORLD’S NUCLEAR NEWS AGENCY
NucNet moves to Belgium… and is
reunited with old friends
At the beginning of the New Year important news
involving NucNet broke. For those of you who are still
not aware of it, here is the news bulletin that NucNet
itself put out to inform its readers.
“The start of 2007 marked a new chapter
in the development of NucNet, with its move from Berne in Switzerland
to a new home in Brussels.
However, the well-coordinated transfer ensured
that operations continued without interruption and allowed NucNet’s
editorial team to promptly cover a number of developments worldwide,
including the safe, controlled shut-down of Taiwan’s Maanshan-2
on 26 December 2006 as the result of seismic activity.
As of 1 January 2007, NucNet
is again co-located with ENS, which founded NucNet
just over 15 years ago. Both organisations worked side-by-side
in Berne until ENS moved to Brussels some years ago.
Towards the end of 2006, NucNet’s
governing board approved a proposal for NucNet to be co-located
with ENS again at 57 Rue de la Loi, Brussels, the building which
is also home to Foratom, the European nuclear industry trade association.
NucNet will continue to be operated independently of both organisations.
telephone numbers in Brussels are:
+32 2 505 3055 / 3056.
NucNet’s web site
and e-mail addresses remain the same:
Welcome to Brussels NucNet!
Technology Plan for EU to ‘maintain lead’
in hydrogen and fusion
Spending on energy research should increase by
at least 50% over the next seven years, as part of a European
Strategic Energy Technology Plan announced by the European Commission
The proposals, announced on 10 January 2007,
say the spending increase is necessary to “accelerate the
competitiveness of low carbon technology”.
The measures will form part of an action plan expected to be
adopted at the European Council (spring council) meeting of EC
leaders and EU heads of government in March 2007.
Introducing a competitive, low carbon European
energy system can be achieved, according to the EC, by measures
such as increasingly adapting transport to using hydrogen fuel
cells and second-generation biofuels by 2030.
Also by 2030, the EC wants to boost the amount
of electricity and heat produced from low-carbon sources. Completing
“the switch” to low carbon in the European energy
system for 2050 and beyond could be achieved with an overall energy
mix including “large shares for renewables, sustainable
coal, sustainable hydrogen and, “for those (EU) member states
that want, Generation IV fission power and fusion energy”.
“The EU should maintain its technological
lead in fourth generation fission nuclear reactors and future
fusion technology to boost the competitiveness, safety and security
of nuclear electricity, as well as reduce the level of waste,”
the EC said.
The Strategic Energy Technology Plan formed part
of a wider Strategic Energy Review (SER) presented by EC president
Jose Manuel Barroso, energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs and environment
commissioner Stavros Dimas.
The SER underlined the importance of nuclear
power and said decisions on new nuclear plants and lifetime extensions
could be needed to reduce dependency on imported electricity.
A “core energy objective” is for
the EU to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from energy consumption
by 20% by 2020 to “measure progress in re-directing today's
energy economy towards one that will fully meet the challenges
of sustainability, competitiveness and security of supply”.
On nuclear specifically, the EC said it was for
each of the EU’s 27 member states to decide whether or not
to rely on nuclear power for the generation of electricity, adding:
“With 152 reactors spread over the EU 27, nuclear power
contributes 30 percent of Europe’s electricity today –
however, if the planned phase-out policy within some EU member
states continues, this share will be significantly reduced.
“To meet the expected energy demand and
to reduce European dependency on imports, decisions could be made
on new investments or on the life extension of some plants.
“Reinforcing nuclear power generation
could also represent one option for reducing CO2 emissions
and play a major role in addressing global climate change. Nuclear
power is essentially carbon emissions-free and forms part of the
(EC’s) carbon reduction scenario including the objective
of reducing CO2 emissions. This could also feature
as an important consideration when discussing future emissions
Commenting on the proposals, ENS secretary-general
Santiago San Antonio said: “Nuclear energy has been given
the official recognition that it deserves as an unavoidable component
of the EU’s present and future energy mix. Among major energy
sources, nuclear energy is the key to helping get the EU’s
security of supply and climate change objectives back on track.”