- Nov 7, 2021 11:43 pm GMT
"Before the euro, Schengen, 'Ode to Joy', butter mountains and the Maastricht treaty, there was the atom. 'The peaceful atom', wrote Jean Monnet, the cognac salesman turned founding father of the EU, was to be “the spearhead for the unification of Europe”. Europe was a nuclear project before it was much else. In 1957 the EU’s founding members signed the Treaty of Rome to form the European Economic Community, the club’s forebear. At the same time they put their names to a less well-known organisation: Euratom, which would oversee nuclear power on the continent. The idea of the common market was nebulous; the potential of nuclear energy was clear.
Where nuclear power was once a source of unity for Europe, today it is a source of discord. The common market morphed into the EU of today, while Euratom became a backwater. Of the EU's 27 countries, only 13 produce nuclear power. Some ban it. France and Germany, the two countries that dominate EU policymaking, find themselves directly opposed. France generates over 70% of its power from nuclear reactors. Germany has pledged to close all its nuclear power plants by 2022. For France and its atomic allies, nuclear energy has a bright future. For Germany and its sceptic kin, the technology is an unhealthy past."
"France says it is green. Germany says it isn’t. France will win."
And it should. Why? Because nuclear energy is the most effective tool we have to decarbonize quickly.
After 70 years of development, the country with the largest percentage of wind in the world - Denmark - achieved 48% market penetration with wind. Solar, which provides 30.5% of China's electricity, is a distant second.
In only 27 years, France achieved 72% clean energy with nuclear. It's not even close, and there's no more time to lose.
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