The biggest nuclear site in Europe containing the world’s biggest stockpile of nuclear explosives is at risk of blowing up. What does this short-term decay tell us about the very long-term sustainability of a technology whose toxic waste last at least 24,000 years? Dr David Lowry takes a closer look.
Despite so much criticism directed at the International Energy Agency (IEA) over the years, the Paris-based intergovernmental organization, which was established in the framework of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in 1974, refuses to seriously rethink its affinity to fossil fuels and nuclear power – and its timid embrace of renewables.
On 27 May the European Commission (EC) put forward its proposal for a major post-Covid-19 recovery plan. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament that what underpinned the programme was a determination “to hold governments more accountable for fighting climate change and saving our nature.” David Lowry explores what this means for the continent’s climate policy and the role of nuclear energy.
All over Europe, people are rising up to fix climate breakdown – demanding urgent transformation to a fair, fossil free future. Communities, cities and people are at the forefront of building community-owned renewable energy, creating green jobs, and tackling energy poverty. Here is one such story from the frontlines of climate hope, from Ukraine. Susann Scherbarth reports for Friends of the Earth Europe
Covid-19 spread shows up vulnerability at heart of nuclear programmes, with resilience of UK critical national infrastructures undermined. The coronavirus’ effects act as threat multiplier, as David Lowry explains.
In the coming months EU member states have to agree on major legislative proposals as part of the European Green Deal and how to support them through the EU’s budget for 2021 – 2027. At its core is the recently drafted European Climate Law, preparing the path for reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. But while the Council and the European Parliament deliberate on the specifics of the pioneering climate law, some countries in Central and Eastern Europe prepare for a nuclear renaissance as part of their climate mitigation strategies.
The Polish government is looking ever more desperately for a way out of the energy impasse. Hence their return to the idea of building a nuclear power plant. Michał Olszewski gives us some insights.
In the midst of last month, the United Nations nuclear promotional and watchdog body, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) hosted an International Conference on Nuclear Security (ICONS 2020). ICONS Vienna followed earlier high-level IAEA nuclear security meetings held in 2013 and 2016. You could be forgiven for having missed it, as media attention was minimal, notwithstanding the crucial importance to worldwide security of the matters discussed and decided upon. Dr David Lowry explains.
Partially inspired by Germany’s version, the Czech Coal Commission met for the first time earlier this summer. Though it’s creation was largely driven by the mass student protests that have fundamentally transformed the Czech debate on climate policy, only two of its nineteen members are from environmental organizations. With its final report due in less than a year, it’s still unclear if the commission will decide upon a coal phase out date or a surge in renewables instead of new nuclear power. To learn more, Klára Schovánková, head of the ecology program at Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Prague office, interviewed Coal Commission member, Jiří Koželouh, who also heads the energy program at Hnutí Duha, Friends of the Earth Czech Republic.
A myth is haunting the English-speaking world: Germany allegedly shows that emissions rise because renewables can’t replace nuclear – and that France is right to stick with nuclear. What do the data show? Craig Morris reports