The position paper of the European Physical
Society about the Nuclear Option
Given the environmental problems our planet is presently facing,the present generation owes it to the future generations not to forgo a technology that has the proven ability to deliver electricity reliably and safely without CO2 emission. Nuclear power can and should make an important contribution to a portfolio of sources having low CO2 emissions. This will only be possible if public support is obtained through an open democratic debate that respects people’s concerns and is informed by verifiable scientific and technical facts.
Since electricity production from nuclear power is opposed in some European countries and research into nuclear fission is supported in only a few, the number of students in this field is declining and the number of knowledgeable people in nuclear science is likewise decreasing. There is a clear need for education in nuclear science and preservation of nuclear knowledge as well as for long-term research into both nuclear fission and fusion and methods of waste incineration, transmutation and storage.
Europe needs to stay abreast of developments in reactor design independently of any decision about their construction in Europe. This is an important subsidiary reason for investment in nuclear reactor RD&D and is essential if Europe is to be able to follow programmes in rapidly developing countries like China and India, that are committed to building nuclear power stations, and to help ensure their safety, for instance, through active participation in the IAEA.
The EPS Executive Committee (www.eps.org)