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Is nuclear power capable of reducing Europe’s reliance on Russian energy?
Western countries are looking for ways to wean themselves off of Russian oil and gas.
Approximately half of EU countries now have nuclear power plants.
Countries opposed to nuclear power expansion, such as Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, and Portugal, have expressed worries about nuclear waste management and the possibility of an accident.
Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, Germany has accelerated efforts to shut down its reactors. The remaining three plants are set to close this year. Officials have floated the notion of keeping them open as the conflict in Ukraine has progressed.
Germany has been a global leader in the application of renewable energy and environmental technology for decades. Wind, solar, biomass, and hydroelectric sources accounted for 46% of the country’s electricity mix.
Is renewable energy alone the answer to becoming energy independent, or is this the wrong time to phase out nuclear power? When it comes to renewable energy production and storage, Alpine countries have an advantage.
Hydropower facilities are currently the only large-scale, cost-effective seasonal energy storage solution capable of absorbing or buffering surplus from intermittent photovoltaic and wind power generation. PSHP plants are likely to become more important as Europe’s renewable power output expands, as has been seen in the past 15 years in countries using wind power.