Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Here Comes the Czech Republic


It does sometimes seem as though we have a scoreboard around here to tote up the countries that are warming up (or rewarming up) to nuclear energy. Obviously, concerns over CO2 emissions and nuclear energy's avoidance of them is the biggest motivator. The ability to scale up seems to be a factor, too, and gives nuclear a leg up on other emission-free energy generators.

So let's welcome the Czech Republic:

A letter in support of the further development of nuclear energy in the European Union has been signed by all 24 Czech Members of the European Parliament and published in the Czech press.

And here's what the letter says:

The letter said that "without nuclear energy as a vital component of a low-carbon energy mix the Community will not be able to meet its energy security, energy independence and CO2 emissions reduction goals." It said that the [European Nuclear Energy Forum] has "provided a much-needed endorsement of the pivotal role nuclear energy plays in the EU's current and future low-carbon economy" and "has, finally, put nuclear energy on an equal footing with other major energy sources."

We can only agree. The Czech Republic is treading carefully, though, because the current governing majority is a coalition that includes the Green Party and, as a condition of its participation, disdained nuclear energy. (The republic has nuclear plants now and had planned to expand them.)

However, senior government representatives, including prime minister Mirek Topolanek, as well as opposition parties, have since advocated nuclear energy.

No word in the article how the Greens feel about this, but there's at least a sense that the party is getting backed into a corner. We'll see how it goes: the Czechs are ready to go and the politics only need a bit more of push to catch up. We don't follow Czech politics enough to know what may occur - the Greens may relent or a new election might exclude them from the coalition - but the signs are good. Now, what are those Slovaks up to?


Matthew66 said...

I suspect there are a couple of things at play here. First and foremost, the Czech believes that nuclear power is an economical, nonpolluting method of generating electricity that taps into the strong intellectual capital of the Czech Republic. 2. The Czech government wants to earn a lot of Euros by exporting electricity to those parts of Europe like Germany, Italy and Austria that have moribund energy policies. 3. The Czech government loves sticking it to its former Imperial overlords in Vienna, especially now that Austria is a minor player in world politics.

Ondrej Chvala said...

Matthew66> right on the mark. For Czech Green Party the "no new nukes" is a religious position.

Some time ago NEI noticed this "movement":

Perhaps it is worth repeating the link :)