Austrian nuclear objection undermines right of energy choice

6 July 2015

"It is one thing to have an opinion, it is quite another to try and force your opinion on someone else." - said Agneta Rising Director General of the World Nuclear Association in response to the action launched today by the Austrian government against the UK nuclear programme.

"The UK public, indeed people in all countries, have the right to choose nuclear to meet their energy needs and to help address climate concerns if they so wish. It is a pity that the Austrian government has decided not to respect that right."

The action claims to challenge the legality of the subsidy arrangement agreed for Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, as approved by the European Commission. However, media statements from Austrian officials make it clear that they are pursuing this action because of their own anti-nuclear agenda. The action is profoundly misinformed and damaging to global efforts to address climate change1.

"The countries that are leading on decarbonisation are using nuclear energy. Not all countries are in Austria's position - lucky enough to be able to count on hydro power built decades ago to provide roughly 65% of their electricity today. Most others have to make pragmatic choices," continued Rising.

"Nuclear power plants are one of a handful of technologies capable of generating low-carbon energy 24/7 and are the foundation of a healthy, modern electrical system in countries lucky enough to have them."


1The IPCC unequivocally recognises that nuclear energy is a low-carbon generating technology with life-cycle emissions "comparable to most renewables". For more background on the Austrian objection please  see our briefing.

The World Nuclear Association is the international organisation that represents the global nuclear industry. Its mission is to promote a wider understanding of nuclear energy among key international influencers by producing authoritative information, developing common industry positions, and contributing to the energy debate, as well as to pave the way for expanding nuclear business.

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