EU nuclear decommissioning ‘could cost €250bn by 2050’

More than €250 billion (£197.5bn) will be needed for the decommissioning of nuclear power plants in the EU by 2050. That’s according to the European Commission’s Nuclear Illustrative Programme, which aims […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria

More than €250 billion (£197.5bn) will be needed for the decommissioning of nuclear power plants in the EU by 2050.

That’s according to the European Commission’s Nuclear Illustrative Programme, which aims to provide information on nuclear energy in the region, the objectives adopted by Member States and the investment required to achieve them.

The new report highlights the estimated financing needs related to nuclear power plants’ decommissioning.

It stated 89 nuclear reactors have been permanently shut down in Europe but only three have been completely decommissioned so far.

More than 50 of the 129 reactors currently in operation are also expected to be shut down by 2025. Located in 14 Member States, they have a total capacity of 120GW.

The report estimates a total of €123 billion (£97.17bn) will be needed for decommissioning and €130 billion (£102.7bn) in spent fuel and radioactive waste management as well as deep geological disposal.

It added many developers have expressed their intentions to operate their nuclear power plants longer than foreseen by their original design.

That would require investment worth between €45 billion (£35.5bn) and €50 billion (£39.5bn) by 2050.

The Commissions stated maintaining nuclear generation capacity of between 95GW and 105GW until 2050 and beyond would need further investment in the next 35 years.

Between €350 billion (£276.5bn) and €450 billion (£355.5bn) would have to be invested in new plants to replace most of the existing nuclear power capacity, it added.

Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy said: “The Nuclear Illustrative Program brings together for the first time an overview of all investment aspects of nuclear energy in a single document. It thus contributes to the public discussion on nuclear matters.

“Together we should be able to identify ways to co-operate across Europe to ensure that knowledge about the safest use of nuclear power plants is shared, rather than done separately by each regulator and that the management of radioactive waste is secured financially by Member States until its final disposal.”