BRUSSELS, June 4, 2014 – On the eve of the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Brussels, Westinghouse Electric Company, a leading voice for the nuclear industry in Europe and worldwide, stresses the pivotal role nuclear energy plays in contributing to the energy security of the European Union (EU) and its partners.
Westinghouse President for Europe, Middle East and Africa Yves Brachet said: “Nuclear not only provides 29 percent of primary energy in the EU28 today, accounting for the largest share of domestic production, but our strong EU technology base also allows us to help our neighbors and partners diversify their nuclear fuel supply." Mr. Brachet highlighted a recent agreement between Westinghouse and Energoatom to deliver fuel to up to three of Ukraine’s 15 nuclear reactors. The fuel will be produced at Westinghouse's facility in Västerås, Sweden.
Last week Westinghouse welcomed the European Commission’s new “European Energy Security Strategy” setting out a series of concrete measures to strengthen Europe’s resilience and reduce its energy import dependency. Westinghouse believes that the G7 can and must further the important discussions about Europe's energy security.
Westinghouse strongly supports a strategy to ensure diversity of supply sources and reduce dependency from particular fuels, energy supplies and routes in the long-term. Nuclear energy is one of the main indigenous sources required to ensure Europe’s transition to an independent, low-carbon and competitive energy mix.
Given that the technology, the components, and the fuel needed for Europe’s reactors are all produced in the EU, nuclear energy is clearly an indigenous European energy source. Westinghouse is glad to see that the European Commission recognizes the importance of the sector and underlines three key points regarding the contribution of nuclear energy to the EU’s energy security:
1. Diversifying nuclear fuel supply to reduce dependence on a single provider.
Some EU member states are currently entirely dependent on nuclear fuel from a single supplier. For the EU to become more resilient, an overall diversified portfolio of fuel supply is needed for all plant operators.
The uranium required for the production of nuclear fuel is readily and reliably available from a variety of countries, including Australia, Canada, Kazakhstan, South Africa, and the United States.
The EU has existing domestic capacity to produce nuclear fuel from imported uranium. Westinghouse is Europe’s leading supplier of nuclear fuel, services and automation and is the only fuel manufacturer for the different types of nuclear reactors (PWRs, BWRs, VVERs and AGRs), making Europe stronger when confronted by energy shocks.
2. Increasing the development of indigenous energy production.
Based on European technology and fuel manufactured in Europe, nuclear provides 29 percent of primary energy in the EU28 today, accounting for the largest share of domestic production. Nuclear energy has the added benefit that it is essentially available 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year.
There are 132 operating nuclear power plants in the EU, over 60 percent of which are based on Westinghouse technology.
3. Ensuring stable and affordable energy prices.
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, thereby helping to keep energy affordable for citizens and companies in the EU.
With consumers across Europe facing increasingly high electricity prices, and wholesale electricity prices and CO2 prices being low, Europe needs an integrated energy and climate approach which combines economic growth, de-carbonization objectives and energy security.
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.