BRUSSELS (Sputnik) – The call by ten EU members for an increased role of nuclear power in the fight against climate change is partly the result of the recent spike in energy prices, Damien Ernst, a ULiege university professor in Belgium, and a specialist of electromechanical engineering and energy, told Sputnik on Monday.France, Romania, the Czech Republic, Finland, Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary published an op-ed in support of nuclear energy on Sunday.
"This is no surprise: several factors are involved. What triggered the move is the increase in energy prices lately. The price of gas will drop back from its current highs, but generally, consumption is increasing and prices are generally on the rise for gas, petroleum and coal", Ernst said.
Wind generators at Nasudden, GotlandOther factors behind the move include the changes in Europe’s wind patterns, which renders wind turbines much less effective in generating power, as well as growing awareness among politicians about the consequences of various green energy initiatives.
"Europe is finally realising this and the extremists of the green movement are losing ground. The European Commission is subject to intensive lobbying by environmental parties and dozens of extremist NGOs that are their offshoots, to reject nuclear power", the professor explained.
According to Ernst, it is still possible to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, but it will be nearly impossible without nuclear power.
"It is very possible to go quite quickly in the construction of the nuclear power plants needed. To build its 60 nuclear power plants in the 1970s and 1980s, France only needed a decade. But for that to happen, politicians must have the courage to make decisive choices", he concluded.
Natural gas prices have been surging on the European market over the past few months, spurred by growing energy demand amid an economic recovery after months of lockdowns, as well as a limited supply. European futures temporarily approached $2,000 per 1,000 cubic metres last week, which is the record-high price in their history.