Research in the nuclear energy field is devoted to achieving the fourfold vision of sustainable development established by the EU:
• Environment: Nuclear energy currently generates one third of all electricity consumed in the EU without emitting CO2 gases, and therefore contributes to limiting the effects of climate change. An important part of research in the fission field is devoted to sustainability of nuclear waste and spent fuel management. For fusion research, the overall aim is to develop the technology for a sustainable, safe and environmentally responsible energy source.
• Society: Research into radiation protection aims to ensure optimal safety of the public and workforce in all medical and industrial applications. It will contribute as well to medical advancements in the field of ionising radiation used in many therapies, such as cancer treatment.
• Economic development: Nuclear is the most significant source of base-load, carbon-free power generation currently available, and European industry has a leading role globally in nuclear technology. Nuclear R&D, for both fission and fusion, will enhance resource efficiency and cost-effectiveness of nuclear energy, while ensuring a robust and socially acceptable system of protection for man and the environment.
• Internationally, nuclear energy production can contribute to overall security of supply, reducing dependence on geopolitically unstable supply sources, alleviating tensions among nations and helping to maintain a more sustainable world balance. The international cooperation efforts of the fission programme take account of the need to develop sustainable, safe and secure reactors. The ITER fusion project, based in Europe, is the largest international energy research initiative, harnessing financial and human resources from countries representing more than half of the world population.
A major contribution towards sustainability of nuclear energy represents the recently established Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform. This platform aims to bring together representatives from industry, research centres, national authorities, technical safety organisations, European institutions and NGOs. It will establish and implement a strategic research agenda to ensure that future nuclear power generation in Europe maintains high levels of safety and competitiveness together with vastly improved sustainability.
Information on the specific programmes, work programmes and calls for proposals can be found in the Euratom CORDIS website. The EUROPA Energy Research website and the Fusion for Energy website also give full information on nuclear research issues.
The following policy initiatives support the need for research in this field:
Please find a link to events related to nuclear research on the EU and energy research website.
For publications related to nuclear fission and radiation protection research, please look at this dedicated publications section of the energy research website.
For publications related to nuclear fusion research, please read this dedicated publications section of the energy research website.