500 billion euro investment for Europe nuclear plants
The European Union will need to invest billions in new generation nuclear power plants by 2050.
By 2050, the European Union will need to invest 500 billion euros ($568 billion) in new generation nuclear power plants, according to the bloc's internal market commissioner in an interview published over the weekend.
"Existing nuclear plants alone will need 50 billion euros of investment from now until 2030. And new generation ones will need 500 billion," Thierry Breton told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper.
Breton also argued that the EU's plan to label nuclear energy and natural gas as "green" sources of investment was a critical step toward attracting that capital.
The EU is consulting its member states on that proposal, and there is internal disagreement about whether the power sources are truly sustainable.
Despite strong opposition from Austria and skepticism from Germany, which is in the process of shutting down all of its nuclear plants, France has led the charge for nuclear power to be included.
The proposal says the EU Commission "considers there is a role for natural gas and nuclear as a means to facilitate the transition towards a predominantly renewable-based future."
Currently, nuclear power provides 26% of the EU's energy, but Breton estimates that by 2050, this figure will be reduced to around 15%.
The proposal also states that appropriate measures for radioactive waste management and disposal should be put in place for nuclear power.
It also calls for the construction of new nuclear power plants to be contingent on permits being issued before 2045, while working to extend the operational life of existing plants to be authorized before 2040.