Barnes, Pamela M. (2003) "Is nuclear electricity the democratic choice of the European Union?". In: UNSPECIFIED, Nashville, Tennessee. (Unpublished)
Electricity consumption is increasing within the European Union (EU) and at the current rate the level of dependency on imported energy resources to meet demand will rise to 70% by 2020 (CEC 2001). During the 1990s assessments of the viability of nuclear generation of electricity were made against a background of lower and more stable energy prices, especially for oil. Governments were able to allow electorates to exercise their choice for a nuclear free energy policy, as cheaper alternatives were available. This is no longer the case. The beginning of the 21st century has been characterised by the rapidly fluctuating prices of alternative energy resources. As costs of energy have risen, the urgency of completing the single market in electricity has become more apparent. For the first time for many years some EU member states are viewing the nuclear option more favourably. Finland has commissioned a new nuclear power plant. Whilst nuclear energy is considered undesirable from the ethical perspective of some consumers, the openness of the European market makes its presence inevitable. As the market for electricity within the European Union becomes more integrated, the choice for those Member States and EU citizens who desire the phase out of the use of the nuclear technologies everywhere is disappearing. The focus is now on the infrastructure to transfer that electricity around the EU. Here is the dilemma, how do you provide nuclear free electricity for those who want it on the transmission lines and electricity grids of the integrated market?
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