ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

The Nuclear Way Towards Decarbonisation: Examining the Pro-Nuclear Side

Europe (Central and Eastern)
European Politics
Governance
Climate Change
Energy
Energy Policy
Policy-Making
Matúš Mišík
Department of Political Science, Comenius University Faculty of Arts
Matúš Mišík
Department of Political Science, Comenius University Faculty of Arts
Veronika Oravcová
Department of Political Science, Comenius University Faculty of Arts

Abstract

While the EU provides governance in energy and climate policy, the member states have not lost their central role in energy transition process as they kept the key competence of energy mix composition in their own hands. Although renewable sources of energy are considered almost unanimously to be the crucial tool for decarbonisation, some members view nuclear energy as an important building block of their energy transition. They claim that nuclear power plants do not emit greenhouse gases and thus present a crucial tool for limiting global warming to 1.5 °C and reaching carbon neutrality at the EU level until 2050. However, not all members support nuclear technology and some of them engage in its open criticism. Such differences manifest at the EU level in inability to agree on a concrete energy transition path and create limits to EU energy and climate governance. Member states clashed at the European Councils not only in questions related to climate goals (June 2019), but also when it comes to utilisation of nuclear energy to reach these. Similar conflicts exist also within the Council of the EU as demonstrated by contested September 2019 decision to include nuclear among sources qualifying for “green” financing. The proposed paper examines position of the so-called Visegrad group (Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) towards nuclear. Utilising lock-in concept the paper identifies two main reasons behind the group’s positive attitude towards nuclear energy: its carbon-neutral nature and perception as a domestic source of energy enhancing energy security. Existing infrastructure, but also mindset of the decision-makers (nuclear being linked to modernity) causes lock-in of the position of nuclear energy not only in those countries of the region that have had previous experience with it (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia) but also in those that are thinking about establishing this energy sector (Poland).