PRESS RELEASE: nuclear is a dangerous distraction

Energy transition

Ahead of the Nuclear Energy Summit on March 21 in Brussels, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe releases a myth buster to counter the recent hype around nuclear energy. It details why nuclear energy is a dangerous distraction from the transition to a fully renewables-based energy system and threatens to delay the urgently needed phase out of fossil fuels. 

We see the renaissance of nuclear energy with growing concern. The cheapest, fastest and only feasible replacement for fossil fuels are renewables. While the accelerated deployment of wind and solar has already delivered significant emissions reductions and lowered energy bills, nuclear power is a dangerous distraction. We urge policymakers to keep all efforts on delivering a fully renewables-based energy system,“ said Thomas Lewis, CAN Europe’s nuclear energy expert.

Key messages from the myth buster:

  • New nuclear energy in Europe is too slow, and too expensive to meaningfully contribute to the decarbonisation of the energy system by 2040. This pathway is a distraction which only delays fossil fuel phase-out and renewables uptake.

  • Nuclear energy is undermining renewables and is not an alternative or partner for renewables in the energy transition.

  • Small Modular Reactors are an unproven technology and, like conventional nuclear reactor designs, are unable to contribute meaningfully to decarbonisation. If developed, these units would increase the price for electricity, the levels of radioactive waste and risk the proliferation of nuclear materials.

  • A 100% renewable energy system by 2040, and therefore a managed phase-out and decommissioning of Europe’s existing nuclear fleet is required by 2040 at the latest to ensure a safe and sustainable future.

This document comes in the context of the Nuclear Energy Summit, as the industry looks to divert funds from genuine solutions towards nuclear energy.Hosted by the Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the summit brings together political and nuclear industry leaders with the aim to attract public finance to support the goal of tripling global nuclear capacity by 2050, announced by a small group of countries at COP28 in Dubai.


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