17 MAR 2011
The European commissioner in charge of climate action, Connie Hedegaard, has signalled that EU decisions on commissioning new energy capacity are "very much likely to be influenced" by the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
In an indication of how the European Commission's nuclear thinking is changing, Hedegaard told a European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) conference on 16 March that "we still have a profound choice".
"We can say that if we do not want nuclear, we should have even more cheap fossil fuels to replace it, or we could say: 'Why not use this opportunity to address the necessity of moving towards a low-carbon emissions society?'".
"I think we should do that," she added.
Hedegaard was speaking a day after the EU's energy commissioner, Günther Oettinger, described the Fukushima crisis in as an "apocalypse" and announced a series of 'stress tests' to measure safety procedures in European nuclear plants, following the nuclear catastrophe in Japan.
"The most important aspect [of the tests] is to have a common understanding and a common Europeanised standard for safety and security," he told EurActiv.
Decisions on the criteria and standards to be adopted by the stress test committee - and the make up of the experts who sit on it – would be made "thoroughly, without delay," Oettinger said.
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