Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia and Romania have joined a group of ten EU member states, led by France, in asking the European Commission to recognise nuclear power as a low-carbon energy source under its taxonomy rules, Croatia's economy ministry said.
"Nuclear energy is an affordable, stable and independent energy resource. First, because it protects European consumers from price volatility, unlike gas. Secondly, because it makes a decisive contribution to the independence of our sources of energy and electricity production," the countries said in an open letter sent to the European Commission, Croatia's economy ministry said in a statement earlier this week.
The development of nuclear energy could generate nearly a million highly qualified jobs in Europe, as soon the construction of new modern reactors, such as Small Modular Reactors (SMR), will be available, the signatories said in the open letter that was also published in several French newspapers including Le Figaro.
In July, Slovenia issued an energy permit for the construction of a second reactor unit at Krsko nuclear power plant, drawing fire from neighbouring Austria, whose constitution bans the use of nuclear fusion in its energy supply. Back then, Austria's environment minister Leonore Gewessler said his country had major concerns about the project and asked for an assessment of the earthquake risk at the site by international experts.
Croatia plans to announce to the Slovenian government its willingness for participating in the construction of the second reactor of Krsko, economy minister Tomislav Coric said on Tuesday, according to Croatian media reports. "We need a stable and long-term source of electricity, as we had for the past couple of decades," daily Jutarnji List daily quoted Coric as saying.
Krsko NPP, located in Slovenia near the border with Croatia, generates some 40% of Slovenia's electricity output. The NPP is located around 100 kilometers from Austria and operates a Westinghouse pressurised light water reactor of 2,000 MW thermal power capacity. The operating company Nuklearna Elektrarna Krsko (NEK) is co-owned by Slovenia's Gen-Energija and Croatia's Hrvatska elektroprivreda (HEP).
Bulgaria's sole nuclear power plant Kozloduy has two functioning units of 1,000 MW each that achieved record-high annual output of 16,625,765 МWh in 2020.
The production of Romania's sole nuclear power plant Cernavoda rose 1.7% on the year to 11.46 TWh in 2020. The Cernavoda power plant operates two reactors of 700 megawatts each, which meet roughly a fifth of the country's electricity needs.