Meltdown Fears Have Europe Looking Beyond Nuclear

Mar 18, 2011, 13:09

Meltdown concerns and the developing nuclear crisis in Japan could put alternative energy sources like offshore wind in the spotlight, the European climate change commissioner said.

A magnitude-9 earthquake struck Japan last week, causing a tsunami that led to massive amounts of loss of life and property damage. A nuclear power plant is on the verge of meltdown because of quake damage.

Gunther Oettinger, the EU energy commissioner, said of the nuclear disaster that there is "talk of an apocalypse and I think the word is particularly well chosen."

EU Climate Change Commissioner Connie Hedegaard told delegates at a wind energy conference in Brussels the nuclear crisis could move alternative resources to the forefront.

"There are 143 nuclear power plants in Europe and they are not going to disappear," she was quoted by The Guardian newspaper as saying. "But when it comes to new energy capacity that discussion is likely to be very much influenced by what is happening in Japan."

She added that offshore wind energy was "very, very cheap" for Europe when compared with nuclear power plants.

Europe aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent of 1990 levels by 2020 in part by expanding the use of renewable energy. Hedegaard said it was up to European member states to decide on the appropriate energy mix.

Source: UPI