Romania pushed towards nuclear power to meet EU climate targets

Will there be a relaunch of nuclear energy in the European Union? Member states such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania have plans to invest heavily in nuclear energy while Austrian and German officials argue that it is a “myth” that nuclear energy can help us out of the climate crisis. and insist on renewable energy.

What role does nuclear energy play in the European “Green Deal”, whose goal is climate neutrality by 2050?

Coal-consuming countries, such as Romania, are struggling to meet Europe’s climate targets. Could Romania’s energy formula be cleaner by adding more nuclear energy?

During the communist era, Romania built two nuclear power plants, both located in Cernavoda, a small town on the banks of the Danube River.

Using Canadian technology Opium, the design of nuclear plants is different from that of the plant developed by the Soviets in the Chernobyl disaster.

Romania wants to build two more reactor units and modernize the existing ones. An investment of about 6 billion euros, estimates the chairman of the board of directors of Nuclear Eléctrica, Teodor Chirica, former president of the European organization of lobby nuclear FORATOM.

The European Commission wants label energy sources, thus channeling future investments towards the production of sustainable energy low in CO2 emissions.

“To achieve the objectives we have to develop renewable energies and continue with the nuclear program. It is impossible to achieve the objectives without having nuclear energy. Today, we speak of 18 to 20% of nuclear energy. Between 30 and 35% is a feasible figure if we follow the current trend, by 2050, “explains Chirica.

Regarding the debate in Europe about qualifying nuclear energy as green or not, Chirica exposes the difficulties that Romania would face and what is behind, according to him, the intentions of the European Union with this classification project.

“One of the positions is ideological and the other has a scientific basis. If, in the worst case, the taxonomy does not accept nuclear, that does not mean that we cannot build it. The problem here is that we cannot have access to one. affordable financing like the other competitors, and that could affect the economic part of the project, “he says.

For her part, Lavinia Andrei is an emblematic figure in the incipient Romanian anti-nuclear movement. She assures that the investment of public funds in the production of nuclear energy distorts the market conditions, since it reinforces the competitive disadvantages of renewable energies.

Euronews: There are plans to build more nuclear power plants. Is this a good idea or a bad idea, considering that Romania’s climate goals must be achieved in some way?

“If this money goes to nuclear power, means that another sector is harmed, such as renewables. The energy transport company said that the capacity of the distribution network is not enough for the nuclear power plant and for renewables, ”says Andrei.

There is still another problem: due to climate change, rivers carry less water, necessary to cool nuclear power plants. Even the Danube is affected, and Cernavoda is already tI had to close production once in summer. These types of situations could occur more frequently in the future.

Investments in energy supply depend on a stable legal framework. A few years ago, Romania supported the development of renewable energies with “green certificates”. But this system was disrupted and investors withdrew. Some greats, like ENEL, stayed. Sorin Zamfir oversees 133 wind turbines. He says he loves his job:

“Taking advantage of wind energy implies using a new, modern and high-level technology that attracted me, it was a challenge for me as a professional. In addition, for the local community I think it is very important to bring this type of new technology because that way we feel closer From Europe, we are on the European map, “says Zamfir, adding that” the potential of wind energy in Romania has not yet been fully exploited. More turbines could be installed. “

“Fossil energy sources are limited and polluting. Wind energy is cheap and efficient. In this area we have great potential for the construction of windmills. And not only here. Romania can develop this technology to meet all your needs of consumption”.

Romania is a sunny country, and solar energy could play a bigger role in the future energy landscape.

Andrei Bucur is a member of the board of directors of Romania’s first 100% green energy provider, a still small cooperative with ambitious growth plans.

Bucur highlights the huge potential, for example 1.5 million square meters of warehouse roofs that could be used for solar panels. But he blames the lack of government support plans and the country’s poor electricity grid connections.

“Romania, I think, is really a blessed country because we have a lot of sun and wind in some areas. We are able to double the production of renewable energy. As you can see, this photovoltaic plant, to be here, to install it, it has to be connected to It makes no sense to invest in a photovoltaic plant if you can’t connect it to a power grid, “says Bucur.

The european commission you have to stay neutral when it comes to technology options. But whether or not to label nuclear power as green or non-green will have a huge impact on investment decisions for years to come.