Energy supply and safety today

What is the present situation concerning the energy supply and the safety standards of nuclear power plants in Europe?

The task: There were two parts of this assignment. Firstly, each participant answered questions about nuclear power and energy politics in their country and provided information about safety measures in case of an accident. Secondly, we had to collect the information in documents for three different regions – North, East, and South.

The results: Not surprisingly, the results of the different groups vary quite a bit. What is consistent, though, is that nuclear power is still used in Europe on quite a high level. Even though many countries in Europe are aware that nuclear power is not the best solution to the energy demand, and that this solution needs to be replaced, Europe is widely dependent on nuclear energy. Even countries that do not produce nuclear power are dependent on electricity produced in nuclear power plants abroad and imported to countries without such plants.

A few countries are planning to create a termination plan to end the use of nuclear power. In other countries, especially in Eastern Europe, there are plans to extend the use of nuclear power and some countries that do not have nuclear power plants are planning to build plants (Baltic countries).

As for safety, almost every country in the European Union is part of the EURATOM treaty that has a set of safety rules concerning nuclear power plants. However, safety regulations and the line of authority regarding safety plans and evacuation procedures vary greatly from country to country.

The authors of this introductory text are Nadya Sporysheva (Russia), Hanna Hyvärinen (Finland) and Juliane Dybkjaer (Denmark)