Since the 1950s, the Euratom Treaty has encouraged large investments into nuclear energy projects and funding for nuclear research. In all this time, the treaty was never revised to suit present-day demands. The trend towards cheaper renewable energy is ignored, while millions of euros that go towards nuclear research are legitimated. Cordula Büsch takes a look at why the Euratom treaty needs to be reformed, if not abolished. Theresa May has explicitly mentioned in her letter to the EU Council which officially triggered article 50 in March that the UK will leave the Euratom treaty, despite Euratom membership not being connected to EU membership. Perhaps this can be taken as an opportunity, a wake-up call, to finally discuss the dissolving of Euratom altogether. Just like the Brexit negotiations, this will bear many challenges and open questions, such as the future of the long-term ITER project to build a fusion reactor. In 2012-2013 Euratom funded the ITER project with the substantial amount of EUR 2.2 billion. Nonetheless, it should be a necessity to discuss the future of Euratom, especially now at a time when demands to reform the EU are voiced by the remaining 27 members. The current trend shows that more European countries are thriving to shut down their nuclear power plants. There are also more countries without nuclear power plants among the EU27 than those keeping up their support of nuclear energy. With Belgium and Germany joining the group of countries without nuclear power plants within the next 8 years, this group will entail 15 member states. The support for nuclear energy is steadily shrinking and with the UK, a nuclear power nation is soon leaving the EU, which changes proportionalities within the union. Even France has issued the Energy Transition for Green Growth bill preparing to cut down nuclear energy to 50% by 2025.
Energy Transition 11th Aug 2017 read more »