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A European scramble for nuclear energy is hampered by risks of terrorist and cyber attacks, as well as the wastes problem.

Fabian Lüscher, who heads the nuclearenergy section at the Swiss Energy Foundation (SES), says that Europe’s ageing nuclear fleet is not adapted to deal with contemporary terrorist attacks and cyberattacks. “You even have to think of those very unlikely possibilities when planning risky infrastructure,” Mr Lüscher argues. And then, of course, there’s the problem of nuclear waste.

 Decisions around the future of nuclear energy are urgently needed in
Europe. Russian supplies of natural gas have been disrupted amidst the war
in Ukraine, energy prices have soared to emergency levels. Meanwhile, some
countries are suffering a lingering hangover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

In France, half of the clearcountry’s nuclear power plants are currently not
operating. The main reasons are corrosion, planned maintenance, and delayed
maintenance due to pandemic-linked staffing issues, explains Phuc Vinh
Nguyen, who researches European energy policy at the Jacques Delors Energy
Center in France. Mr Nguyen warns that across the EU the energy price
crisis will probably last until at least 2024.

In this situation, some see the use of nuclear reactors as a way to decouple from Russian natural gas.

Russian influence also looms over many aspects of nuclear power generation:
Russia dominates the supply of nuclear fuel, the enrichment of uranium, and
the building of nuclear power plants in other countries. At Leibstadt,
Switzerland’s largest and youngest nuclear power plant, half of the uranium
supply currently comes from Russia. There, as elsewhere, there’s a scramble
to source more uranium from outside the Russian sphere of influence.

Fabian Lüscher, who heads the nuclear energy section at the Swiss Energy
Foundation (SES), says that Europe’s ageing nuclear fleet is not adapted to
deal with contemporary terrorist attacks and cyberattacks. “You even have
to think of those very unlikely possibilities when planning risky
infrastructure,” Mr Lüscher argues. And then, of course, there’s the
problem of nuclear waste.

 BBC 21st Oct 2022

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-63245112

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October 21, 2022 - Posted by | EUROPE, safety

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