Reuniting Europe

Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger urged during a hastily called meeting of ministers yesterday (15March) to introduce safety “stress tests” at nuclear power plans in Europe. He commended the present safety standards in EU countries, but as the same time told German media that we need to consider a “foreseeable future” without nuclear energy.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Monday the closure of seven of its aging nuclear power plants, in a move seen to be a desperate attempt to avoid a regional election disaster.

The move astonished Germans, as it suspended an unpopular coalition decision taken last autumn, under which the life of Germany’s 17 nuclear power plants would be extended by years.

Following the tide, Oettinger, who is a close Merkel ally, told the German media that Europe needed to consider whether it could live without nuclear energy one day.

“We must also raise the question of if we in Europe, in the foreseeable future, can secure our energy needs without nuclear energy,” he told broadcaster ARD.

Oettinger also appears to have found an easy target: the Bulgarian nuclear power plant Belene, at the Danube river. Although the construction is ongoing and a lot of money has been invested on the site (see picture), he says that the project needs to be reassessed and that there were problems regarding the projects financing.

It would not be the first time that Bulgaria, the poorest EU country, is under pressure to abandon nuclear projects. Bulgaria has closed four nuclear reactors at its Kozlodui as part of its EU accession package.

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  1. Ambiguity over how the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant will effect the future of Europe’s nuclear facilities is steeped in a recognition that, for most of Europe, the threat from seismic activity is minimal.
    However, the threat that increasingly frequent and intense climate change related disasters – including floods, storms, hurricanes and droughts – might pose to nuclear plants – through direct damage or disrupting infrastructure and energy or water supply (both crucial to the safety of nuclear plants) – has yet to be given serious consideration.

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  2. It’s good NPPs are safe and secure in Europe, but that does not exclude a future without nuclear power.
    As a simple European citizen, I strongly hope that Europe will replace nuclear power with renewable energies. Why be afraid of nature’s power (sometimes destructive, like in Japan) instead of using it (wind, water, earth, sun) in a friendly way. Why keep on struggling with chilling down nuclear reactors and with managing nuclear waste instead of producing clean energy in all respect for nature and humans?
    Nuclear is less expensive? It might be so, but it does not seem to be sustainable.
    Isn’t life too short and health too precious to tolerate cheap dangerous energy?
    In my country, Romania, the Japonese nuclear crisis doesn’t seem to make any difference in the future nuclear strategy. I cannot be less disappointed about such indifference. Fortunately, I have the EU to turn to and I put much hope in Commissioner Oettinger’s statement about a forseeable future without nuclear power. I put all my trust in the EU’s willingness to impose such a trend in all Member States as well as in the whole world.
    Let’s remember the respect for nature and stay humble!

  3. The next European war will be probably started by crusading Germany attacking her neigbours to save them from corruption of blood by crook-nosed radioisotopes. When will Germans finally start minding their own bussiness?


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