Eastern Europe going cold on nuclear power. While wealthier countries such as Germany and France balk at adding facilities because of the cost and environmental risks, in former communist Europe the problem is that enthusiasm for nuclear isn’t matched by the ability to make projects happen. Across the region, where the Soviet Union fit out most of the reactors still in use today, authorities are squeezed by time and money. Plants near the end of their operating lives, increasing demand for energy and deadlines for cutting carbon emissions are spurring governments to seek to add capacity. Along with Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovenia are looking to expand or refurbish facilities. Bulgaria and Poland want to build new plants. But plans are often stymied by soaring construction costs and the complexity of design requirements for European Union members, making most planned projects from the region at least a decade away from completion. With new reactors often costing anything up to 15 billion euros ($16.8 billion) to build, governments may find themselves hard-pressed to push on. The furthest along is Slovakia, which may connect a new reactor to its grid by next year, though even there the process has been fraught with delays, opposition by neighboring Austria, a spat over financing and accusations of mismanagement. A more typical example is Bulgaria, which has so far been unsuccessful in finding the cash to build a second plant in the northern town of Belene. The plan was first shelved after communism fell and would cost the state almost a quarter of its economic output to complete. Poland, Europe’s biggest consumer of coal for power, is looking to start its first-ever reactor in 2033, though it lacks government approval for the funding.
Energy Voice 29th July 2019 read more »