NEW look at Nuclear power. And Europe seeks options other than wind or solar in quest to be carbon-free.

TEN years ago, a few months after an earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan that forced the evacuation of over 150,000 people the German government announced that it would gradually shut down its nuclear program.

NOW Germany is at the head of a group of nations that want to defuse efforts to include more nuclear power in Europe's green energy mix. They are worried about a proliferation of nuclear plants in European soil and the radioactive waste the plants would produce.

European countries desperate for a long-term and reliable source of energy to help reach ambitious climate goals are turning to an answer that caused earlier generations to shudder : nuclear power.

Poland wants a fleet of smaller nuclear power stations to help end its reliance on coal. Britain is betting on Rolls Royce to produce cheap modular reactors to complement wind and solar energy.

And in France, President Emmanuel Macron plans to build on the nation's huge nuclear program.

As world leaders pledge to avert a climate catastrophe, the nuclear industry sees an opportunity for a revival. Sidelined for years after the disasters at Fukushima and Chernobyl, advocates are wrangling to win recognition of nuclear energy, alongside solar and wind, as an acceptable source of clean power.

MORE than half a dozen European countries recently announced plans to build a new generation of nuclear reactors. Some are smaller and cheaper than older designs, occupying the space of two football fields and costing a fraction.

The Biden administration is also backing such technology as a tool of ''mass decarbonization'' for the United States.

''Nuclear is going mainstream in the climate movement,'' said Kirsty Gogan, a member of Britain's Nuclear Innovation Research and Advisory Board and a founder of TerraPraxis, a nonprofit organization that supports nuclear energy in the shift to a green economy. ''This is a critical decade, and I think we're going to see real change.''

But not everyone is buying the idea that nuclear is a solution to climate change.

The pushback is creating tensions with France, Europe's largest nuclear energy producer, which has forged an unusual alliance with Eastern European countries that want to attract more investment for nuclear power, including Bulgaria, the Czech republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania.

The group is pressing the European Union to classify nuclear energy as a ''sustainable'' investment, which would unlock billions of euros in state aid and investment from pension funds, banks and other investors seeking to put money in environmental causes.

Austria, Denmark, Luxembourg and Spain have joined Germany in trying to beat back the initiative in Brussels.

The nuclear industry's main selling point is a technology involving scaled-down plants, or small modular reactors, that supporters say are safe, cheap and efficient.

The argument is that wind and solar power alone won't be enough to help countries meet the goals outlined at the United Nations climate summit last month in Glasgow.

''The general consensus in climate circles is nuclear is a clean energy source,'' said Marisa Drew, chief sustainability officer at Credit Suisse.

''If someone can deliver something that is economically viable and scaleable and truly green, and do it in a safe way,'' she said, ''then we have to embrace that.''

The Publishing continues. The World Students Society thanks authors Liz Alderman from Paris and Stanley Reed from London.


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