EC president backs German plans for nuclear energy phase-out

Romano Prodi has written a letter to Bavaria's president stating that Germany's plan to phase-out nuclear power generation does not contravene a European treaty designed to promote nuclear power.

Prodi’s letter to Mr Edmund Stoiber was sent on 19 April and recently made public by the European Commission.

Stoiber is opposed to the German federal government’s plan to end domestic nuclear power generation over the next three decades (see related story).

In opposing the nuclear phase-out, Stoiber wrote to Prodi suggesting that Germany’s plan may constitute a breach of the Eurotom treaty. Eurotom, or European Atomic Energy Community, is a founding treaty of the European Union and commits its members to the common development of the region’s nuclear energy resources.

Prodi’s response does not provide Stoiber with much ammunition with which to fight a nuclear power phase-out. Prodi states that Germany’s phase-out would not be a contravention of Eurotom and that “it is generally understand that it is up to each member state to decide whether to adopt or keep in reserve nuclear power as an energy source”.

On the issue of whether Germany’s nuclear phase-out will threaten its ability to meet its Kyoto Protocol commitments of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Prodi acknowledges that “closure of German nuclear power stations will necessitate greater efforts in the domain of renewable energy generation and energy efficiency”.

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