BRUSSELS - EU Energy Commissioner Loyola de Palacio offered her strongest support for nuclear power to date yesterday by saying that countries phasing it out were irresponsible.
"It is not responsible... to promote the abandonment of nuclear without explaining to public opinion that, beyond its risks - notably to do with the handling of waste - nuclear presents many advantages in terms of price stability, indigenous supply and CO2 emissions," de Palacio said according to the text of a speech to the Institut Francais des Relations Internationales in Paris.
De Palacio has never hidden her support for nuclear power, which produces 35 percent of the EU's electricity without producing carbon dioxide - the main greenhouse gas targeted by the 1997 Kyoto deal on climate change.
Her latest comments are a clear criticism of the policies of a number of EU countries - including Germany, Belgium and Sweden - which have opted to get rid of nuclear power stations largely on environmental grounds.
Although the EU Commission has no direct role in determining countries' energy sources, it is currently involved in a major debate on the future of energy supply for the 15-country bloc and is drafting a range of policies aimed at tackling climate change.
On Wednesday, the European Parliament passed legislation aiming to double the proportion of renewable power in the EU's energy mix as part of the EU's efforts to reduce greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE