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Nuclear energy a ‘must’ for a sustainable energy mix

Including nuclear energy into a country’s energy mix is the best way to ensure a sustainable energy production, claims a report by the World Energy Council released a couple of weeks ago only.

The report – Policies for the future: 2011 Assessment of country energy and climate policies – starts from ranking countries according to how well they perform in the three pillars of energy policy: energy security, environment and affordability. The bad news, for all anti-nuclear activists, is that the best performers are those who have a good share of nuclear energy in their own energy mix: Switzerland (40% nuclear for electricity), Sweden (40% nuclear), France (75% nuclear), Germany (30% nuclear prior to reactor shut down earlier this year) and Canada (15% nuclear). A clear sign that nuclear plants cannot be closed just like that – just because a Kanzlerin has no strength to counter a screaming and yelling Gruene minority, all references to germany and Angela merkel is actually wanted – if our goal is a coherent and robust energy policy with a sustainable world as final destination.

These results are based mainly on data for 2009-2010, and that is why they still take Germany into consideration. Thus, they do not reflect the effects of changes in policy caused by the Fukushima nuclear accident and recent political instability in North Africa and the Middle East. It is clear, however, that nuclear energy plays a prominent role in the electricity generation mix of all countries highlighted and that moving away from nuclear could impact their performance.

The report notes that focusing solely on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and relying on market mechanisms only is not enough to achieve sustainability. Industry and policy makers must continue to work towards "Ensuring a stable regulatory regime that supports a large volume of capital investments while allowing policy updates and revisions as necessa; Driving changes in energy systems at a pace that may be faster than markets alone will support; Stimulating an urgency to reduce carbon emissions and the policies to drive those changes, while building and maintaining support from consumers and citizens."

Speaking at a media event World Energy Council Chairman Pierre Gadonneix, stressed the importance that; "public policies must provide the market with robust frameworks and typically grant actors with: prices that reflect real costs, long-term visibility, an implicit or explicit carbon dioxide price, an assumed responsibility of states to develop and ensure safety and acceptance, as well as environmental standards."

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