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Nuclear Power Is Not Competitive: Climate Protection in UK and France Also Viable without It

Economic Bulletin of November 2, 2016

The nuclear power industry is faced with profound challenges— not only in Germany, but throughout Europe as well. New nuclear power plants are very expensive to build and even at high carbon prices, nuclear power is not competitive. Nevertheless, the EU reference scenario assumes that within the next three decades, new nuclear power plants will be built with a total capacity of at least 50 gigawatts (GW), and licenses will be renewed for a further 86 GW. Model calculations show that nuclear power would disappear from Europe’s power generation mix by 2050 were the decision based on economic factors and cost considerations alone. In Western Europe, the UK and France are still determined to implement their plans to build new nuclear power plants. But the model calculations for these two countries indicate that complete electricity sector decarbonization by 2050 would also be possible without nuclear power.