BRUSSELS, October 6, 2014 – Westinghouse Electric Company, a leading voice for the nuclear energy industry in Europe and worldwide, welcomes EU energy ministers’ reaffirmed commitment to an ambitious binding climate and energy framework during today’s informal meeting in Milan. The EU needs a climate and energy policy that goes hand-in-hand with ensuring Europe’s transition to a low-carbon, competitive and diversified energy mix.
EU energy ministers meet at a time in which the urgency to address greenhouse gas emissions has become increasingly clear. In the wake of the U.N. Climate Summit in New York and on the eve of the Lima climate change conference, there is growing realization that strong climate policies can go together with economic growth. The New Climate Economy report: “Better Growth, Better Climate” released in September 2014 shows that one of the most critical and urgent challenges facing countries today is achieving economic prosperity and development while also combating climate change.
Underlining Westinghouse’s desire to support the EU’s climate and energy objectives, Westinghouse President for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Yves Brachet, commented: “There is great need to reduce carbon emissions and improve economic growth. Nuclear energy is a significant contributor to climate change mitigation and is an affordable, low-carbon energy source.”
On costs, Mr. Brachet added: “Consumers and businesses across Europe face increasingly high electricity prices. It is clear that Europe needs an integrated energy and climate approach which combines both economic growth and de-carbonization objectives.”
Westinghouse and the nuclear energy industry in general are continuously seeking to make a significant contribution to EU energy policies objective: energy security; combating climate change and competitiveness.
Security of supply:
Twenty-nine percent of primary energy in the EU28 is supplied by nuclear energy today. Nuclear power is essentially available 24 hours per day, seven days per week, and 365 days per year.
The technology, components and fuel needed for Europe’s nuclear reactors can all be produced in the EU. Today, some member states operate nuclear power plants that are still entirely dependent on a single supplier from outside the EU, even though producers that could provide the same services exist in the EU itself.
Westinghouse strongly supports a strategy to ensure diversity of supply sources and reduce dependency from particular fuels, energy supplies and routes.
By avoiding the emission of around 600 million tons of CO2 in the EU per year and providing 55 percent of the EU’s low-carbon electricity, nuclear energy is the largest source of low-carbon energy in the EU and a major contributor to the decarbonization of Europe’s electricity generation sector.
Westinghouse calls on EU Heads of State to act swiftly in order to reach a common position prior to the December 2015 U.N. climate summit in Paris (COP 21). The EU cannot expect to credibly lead international climate negotiations and influence other countries towards its own climate and energy ambitions and actions without having a strong, aligned position across the 28 member states.
Affordability and competitiveness:
The nuclear energy sector contributes an estimated 70 billion Euro to the European economy per year and directly and indirectly supports an estimated 800,000 jobs in the region. Due to the low variable costs (such as fuel, operations and maintenance), nuclear energy is one of the most economically predictable, stable and competitive sources of electricity in the EU. Data from the International Energy Agency shows that nuclear energy can be produced at the lowest cost per kWh, helping to keep energy affordable for citizens and companies in the EU.
Westinghouse Electric Company, a group company of Toshiba Corporation (TKY:6502), is the world's pioneering nuclear energy company and is a leading supplier of nuclear plant products and technologies to utilities throughout the world. Westinghouse supplied the world's first pressurized water reactor in 1957 in Shippingport, Pa., U.S. Today, Westinghouse technology is the basis for approximately one-half of the world's operating nuclear plants, including more than 50 percent of those in Europe.