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Why nuclear research

Global energy demand is on the rise and the European Union (EU) is increasingly relying on imports to meet its energy needs. In 2007 dependence on imported energy in the EU amounted to 53% - if the current trend continues, by 2030 energy dependence will have grown to 67%. By the same year, CO2 emissions are forecast to exceed the 1990 limits set by the Kyoto Protocol by 5.4%.

The 151 nuclear reactors operating within the EU provide over 30% of our electricity needs and avoid the emission of 700 million tonnes of CO2 per year. Having been in use for over 50 years, nuclear energy already forms part of the energy mix in those EU Member States that have decided to use it.

Gross electricity generation in the EU-27

Gross electricity generation in the EU-27

Research into both fission and fusion technology can contribute to finding solutions for Europe's longer-term energy challenges, as well as help to address citizens' concerns about current nuclear technology, in particular safety and security and the management of waste.