Europe Wrestles with How Much It Should Go Nuclear

Sep 19, 2022

Operational Nuclear Reactors in the EU

Faced with an ongoing energy crisis, Europe is trying to decide whether it should turn to nuclear power as a quick solution.

France's biggest power giant will restart all of its nuclear reactors this winter. The plants will help supply customers with electricity. In Germany, the head of the energy ministry said two of the country’s three nuclear plants will be on standby. They were going to be shut down.

Europe is facing an energy shortage. It's mostly due to the Russia-Ukraine war. Russia has shut off the Nord Stream II natural gas pipeline. So, many European nations don't have access to a lot of fuel.

Nuclear power is considered a “clean energy” source. It doesn't send carbon into the atmosphere. European nations are trying to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. That makes nuclear energy an attractive choice.

Renewable energy sources like wind and solar will take years to set up. Nuclear plants are already online. They're ready to produce power. Some states in Germany have fallen behind on their renewable goals. Still, it's decided against committing to long-term use of nuclear plants. In part, that's because it's costly to bring nuclear plants online. The materials needed for the plants to run are hard to get. Nuclear power can also be dangerous.

What does the infographic include that is not included in the article? (Common Core RI.5.7; RI.6.7)
a. France has 56 operational nuclear reactors.
b. Germany has three operational nuclear reactors.
c. Two of Germany’s nuclear reactors were scheduled for retirement.
d. Russia shut down a natural gas pipeline that supplied many EU nations with a major source of fuel.
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