United Europe has stepped into the new year, bringing with it a whole heap of long-standing internal problems, the set of which is once again testing the strength of this geopolitical union.
The British media, citing its own sources in Brussels, reported that the European Commission is going to create in the very near future a maximum assistance regime for investments in the nuclear and gas energy sectors.
Simply put, the European government is ready and urges all its partners to recognize nuclear and natural gas as clean energy sources, which will automatically remove these two areas from the global constraints aimed at curtailing the traditional and transition to alternative energy.
This decision is not spontaneous or sudden
In December of last year, many EU member states clearly demonstrated their support for peaceful nuclear power. For example, Bulgaria, which voluntarily gave up the South Stream project to please the United States and now watches with a certain degree of envy as Turkey receives all the geopolitical and financial benefits of its status as Europe’s southern gas hub. The Russian gas pipeline, having slightly turned to the south, later went to the Turkish Lyuleburgaz instead of Bulgarian Varna, leaving the Bulgarians in the modest role of the transit country. Besides, according to Bulgarian diplomat Dimitar Abadzhiev, his country is totally dependent on energy supplies from Russia. Ninety-five percent of Bulgaria’s natural gas and ninety percent of all oil products are of Russian origin.
Sofia also once turned down Rosatom’s offer to build the Belene nuclear power plant. This was immediately after the return of Crimea, and the Bulgarian leadership, following the fairway of Western policies and the newfangled environmental agenda, simply refused to allow Russian nuclear engineers to participate in the tender. Then came the puzzling year of 2021 and it suddenly became clear that the only nuclear power plant in Kozloduy, with its old Soviet VVER-440 reactors and a couple of more modern VVER-1000 reactors, was probably the only reliable source of electricity in the country. Moreover, last year Kozloduy tripled its own profit to $414 million.
The Bulgarian government, seeing all this going on, immediately changed its tactics and declared that it would demand that nuclear power be made environmentally friendly.
Poland is not far behind. It has been a long time since Poland has heard triumphant rhetoric about a complete and final break with Russia and the elimination of Russian dominance through the supply of democratic LNG from America. Local media now broadcast daily reports, with a distinctly panicked voice, of the day after the failure of Gazprom to reserve transit capacity in the Polish section of the Yamal pipeline. Poland, stymied by its own policies, unable to give up coal for its domestic needs and with no money to fulfill its part of the so-called green deal, is also turning its back on the atom. Opinion polls show that 75 percent of Poles support the construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant. Following the trend, in mid-December Poland’s Synthos Green Energy signed an agreement with the US GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Canada’s BWXT to build and house at least ten BWRX-300 small modular reactors.
Everything here would be fine, but for one problem. The memorandum signed implies that the US-Canadian tandem will take the Polish power sector off the hook for Russian gas, but it will not happen before 2029 – for the reason that the BWRX-300 small modular reactor is still only a form of a beautiful presentation. However, it should be noted that Poland, which annually consumes more than ten billion cubic meters of Russian gas (or 74 percent of all imports), again discounting the historical Russophobia, but it associates its hopes for the future with the atom.