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Policy area
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Date

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Energy supply and security

28-06-2019

Energy policy is a competence shared between the EU and its Member States. Whereas the EU has responsibility under the Treaties to ensure security of supply, Member States are responsible for determining the structure of their energy supply and their choice of energy sources. EU legislation on security of supply focuses on natural gas and electricity markets, and is closely related to other EU objectives: consolidating a single energy market, improving energy efficiency, and promoting renewable energy ...

Energy policy is a competence shared between the EU and its Member States. Whereas the EU has responsibility under the Treaties to ensure security of supply, Member States are responsible for determining the structure of their energy supply and their choice of energy sources. EU legislation on security of supply focuses on natural gas and electricity markets, and is closely related to other EU objectives: consolidating a single energy market, improving energy efficiency, and promoting renewable energy sources to decarbonise the economy and meet the Paris Agreement goals. The 2014-2019 legislature saw numerous initiatives in connection with security of supply. The EU institutions reached agreement on a revised regulation on security of gas supply, a revised regulation on security of electricity supply, a revised decision on intergovernmental agreements in the energy field, a targeted revision of the gas directive to apply its key provisions to pipelines with third countries, and also new targets for energy efficiency and renewables by 2030. Parliament also adopted several own-initiative resolutions in the energy field, including one on the new EU strategy on liquefied natural gas and gas storage, which is key to gas supply security. Meanwhile, EU projects of common interest (PCIs) finance energy infrastructure that improves interconnection and supports security of supply. There is growing expectation among EU citizens that the EU will step up its involvement in energy supply and security. Whereas this view was shared by just over half of EU citizens in 2016 (52 %), it is now expressed by roughly two thirds (65 %). The EU will retain a key role in monitoring security of supply throughout the energy transition from the old system of centralised generation dominated by fossil fuels in national markets, towards a new system characterised by a high share of renewables, more localised production and cross-border markets. However, the EU would need to use a special legislative procedure if it wanted to intervene directly in determining the energy supply of its Member States. This procedure requires decision-making by unanimity in Council and only a consultative role for the Parliament. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Nuclear energy

01-02-2018

The nuclear power currently produced is released by a process called nuclear fission, which involves the splitting of atoms using uranium to release energy. Nuclear energy is a low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels and represents a critical component in the energy mix of 14 of the 28 EU Member States, accounting for almost 30% of the electricity produced in the EU. However, in the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and the 2011 nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima, Japan, nuclear energy has become ...

The nuclear power currently produced is released by a process called nuclear fission, which involves the splitting of atoms using uranium to release energy. Nuclear energy is a low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels and represents a critical component in the energy mix of 14 of the 28 EU Member States, accounting for almost 30% of the electricity produced in the EU. However, in the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and the 2011 nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima, Japan, nuclear energy has become highly controversial. Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear energy by 2020, as well as the temporary closure of two Belgian reactors after the discovery of cracks in their vessels, has stepped up pressure for the abandonment of nuclear power in Europe. While it is the Member States that choose whether to include nuclear power in their energy mix or not, EU legislation aims at improving the safety standards of nuclear power stations and ensuring that nuclear waste is safely disposed of and handled.

Nuclear safety in the EU

01-04-2011

In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, there is renewed concern for nuclear safety in the EU. The German government has moved swiftly to close seven of its older reactors, while at EU level, the Commissioner is pushing for "stress tests" on all 143 of the EU's reactors.

In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, there is renewed concern for nuclear safety in the EU. The German government has moved swiftly to close seven of its older reactors, while at EU level, the Commissioner is pushing for "stress tests" on all 143 of the EU's reactors.

The European Parliament and the Euratom Treaty : Past, Present and Future

01-02-2002

Part One of the study is a history of the Euratom Treaty, which covers the period from the early 1950s to the late 1960s. Part Two of the study considers and analyses the most important provisions of the Euratom Treaty, chapter by chapter, and then Part Three offers some thoughts on possible strategies which the Parliament might use so as to reduce the ‘democratic deficit’ which is generally thought to characterise the Euratom Treaty.

Part One of the study is a history of the Euratom Treaty, which covers the period from the early 1950s to the late 1960s. Part Two of the study considers and analyses the most important provisions of the Euratom Treaty, chapter by chapter, and then Part Three offers some thoughts on possible strategies which the Parliament might use so as to reduce the ‘democratic deficit’ which is generally thought to characterise the Euratom Treaty.

External author

Mervyn O’ Driscoll (University College Cork, for Part One) and Gordon Lake (Directorate-General for Research) with the assistance of Berthold Rittberger (for Part Two) ; strategy paper two : Juliet Lodge (University of Leeds)

A Nuclear Amplifier for Energy for Electricity Production

01-06-1999

The nuclear Energy Amplifier (EA) proposed in 1993 by Professor Carlo Rubbia, Nobel prize, is an original hybrid nuclear reactor made of a fast subcritical nuclear reactor driven by a high energetic and intense proton accelerator which could be at the same time basically a safe electricity producer and could also bum almost completely its own nuclear waste as well as other reactors ones. It found a number of echoes in Europe, in particular in Spain, Italy and France, as well as in the European Commission ...

The nuclear Energy Amplifier (EA) proposed in 1993 by Professor Carlo Rubbia, Nobel prize, is an original hybrid nuclear reactor made of a fast subcritical nuclear reactor driven by a high energetic and intense proton accelerator which could be at the same time basically a safe electricity producer and could also bum almost completely its own nuclear waste as well as other reactors ones. It found a number of echoes in Europe, in particular in Spain, Italy and France, as well as in the European Commission, in the European Parliament and in the World. The whole technology of the EA includes several components which are separately well mastered by the nuclear energy industry and the nuclear research community but with a number of innovative improvements which may present implementation and reliability difficulties. Many technological options are still open, and there is a need for more R&D. Experts largely agree that the EA could not produce electricity at a competitive price, and that the EA technology should not be aimed mainly to electricity production. EA could be an option for buming Actinides and other nuclear fission products, electricity being an interesting by-product of the reactor. In Europe, Italy, France and Spain have taken a first tripartite- initiative and are open to larger cooperation. Should Europe invest in this domain, and how? Should a research demonstrator be launched in short or medium term? This report addresses these points and propose orientation options to the European Parliament.

External author

Jean-Pierre Husson and Philippe de Montgolfier (Essor Europe, Paris, France)

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