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'Alternative' nuclear energy forum opens in Bratislava

by Staff Writers
Bratislava (AFP) Nov 26, 2007
Around 100 politicians, industrialists, producers and experts met in Bratislava Monday for the first European Energy Forum dedicated to reviving nuclear power as an "alternative" energy source.

The meeting comes against a backdrop of declining carbon energy resources and the battle against global warming.

"Nuclear energy is a promising alternative solution, its current revival sends a positive message to the world," Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said as he opened two days of debate under the aegis of the European Commission.

"The decision to close or not to build a new nuclear plant is political decision. It is to be respected, but a majority of European countries have taken another option," emphasised Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek.

Slovakia, like the Czech Republic, France, Finland, Lithuania and Bulgaria are some of the 15 EU countries (out of 27) which produce nuclear energy.

The Bratislava forum opens a debate "without taboos and without preconceived ideologies" on nuclear production, according to Christian Taillebois, chief executive of Framatome, a joint subsidiary between Areva and Siemens.

He told AFP his hope is that nuclear will be fully integrated into EU energy policy, complementing renewable energy.

For its advocates, nuclear power holds no worries: "Nuclear energy is currently the first and foremost form of energy production with zero CO2 emissions," the brochure accompanying the forum states.

Contrary voices on the first day of the conference were rare. A handful of opponents, primarily from the Green Party and Greenpeace, held placards outside Bratislava town hall saying "No To Nuclear" -- watched over by heavy security.

Their objections centre on the issues of nuclear security, and waste.

Nuclear energy currently provides around a third of the EU's electricity consumption, according to figures provided by the Bratislava forum.

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Areva announces 8 bln euro nuclear deal with China
Beijing (AFP) Nov 26, 2007
France's Areva announced here Monday it had agreed to deliver two third-generation nuclear reactors to energy-hungry China as part of a package of deals worth eight billion euros (11.9 billion dollars).

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