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ENERGY : EUROPEAN NUCLEAR FORUM MEETS IN BRATISLAVA.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico and his Czech counterpart, Mirek Topolanek, opened, on 4 November, the third meeting of the European Nuclear Energy Forum (ENEF). The meeting, which run until 5 November in Bratislava, brought together some 200 high-level officials and company participants as well as a few non-governmental stakeholders such as Greenpeace. ENEF was set up following the March 2007 European summit that endorsed a European Commission proposal to organise a "broad" discussion among relevant stakeholders on the opportunities and risks of nuclear energy.

The Bratislava meeting revolved around reports presented by three working groups established by ENEF's first plenary meeting in November 2007. Priority issues then outlined were nuclear safety, translating the costs of nuclear-generated electricity into electricity prices, developing new concepts for electricity grids and better involvement of the public in nuclear. The nuclear industry takes heart from a more outspokenly pro-nuclear European Parliament and European Commission. Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the Commission, once again called for a "real" debate on the future of nuclear energy at a conference in October. Barroso called ENEF a vital component of that debate.

Hosted successively in Bratislava and Prague, ENEF meets twice a year. The last meeting, in May in Prague, saw divisive reactions from environmentalists taking part. Greenpeace, for instance, considered leaving the forum referring to a "mockery of a supposedly open process". Rebecca Harms (Greens-EFA, Germany) accused the Commission of failing to organise a "broad" discussion. "It is above all a reunion of nuclear industry representatives and their allies in utilities and politics," Harms said at the time.

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Publication:Europe Environment
Date:Nov 13, 2008
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