European Atomic Forum

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Contents

Background

The European Atomic Forum (FORATOM) is the Brussels-based trade association for the nuclear energy industry in Europe. It says that its "main purpose is to promote the use of nuclear energy in Europe."[1]

Its 2011 annual report says building new nuclear power stations across Europe is a "a no-brainer", adding "the largest base-load electricity source that can realistically fulfil our security of supply, climate change and competitiveness requirements is nuclear".[2]

Members

Foratom’s members includes 17 national nuclear associations, including the UK’s Nuclear Industry Association and nearly 800 companies “from Europe's (and the world's) largest nuclear utilities and nuclear fuel cycle companies to other undertakings engaged in the transport of nuclear materials and the management of radioactive waste”. [3]

Member companies include EDF and Areva of France, RWE, Eon and EnBW of Germany, BNFL and British Energy in the UK, Urenco (UK, Germany and the Netherlands) and Vattenfall in the Nordic region.

Documents released under Freedom of Information, show that BNFL's Annual subscription to the NIA for the period of 1st April 2005 to 31st March 2006, was £200,000. Including VAT the total was £235,000. [4]

Staff

EU lobbying

FORATOM has 8 lobbying staff, four of whom have access to the European Parliament, and spent €1,971,611 on lobbying EU institutions in 2010.[6]

Downplaying Fukushima

FORATOM has sought to play down the importance of the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011. While praising the industry's "excellent safety profile", it said: "What happened at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant fades into obscurity when compared with the fact that so many lives were lost following the earthquake and tsunami. Those who were quick to say that the Fukushima bell has tolled for the nuclear industry would do well to remember this fact.. it is equally important to remember that not one single life has been lost as a direct result of the nuclear accident."[2]

Nukes will save the climate

On 19 October 2005, FORATOM organised a seminar entitled "Nuclear Energy: Meeting the challenge of climate change", at the European Parliament.

During the seminar, a cross-party group of twenty-five MEPs today signed a joint Declaration on climate change and nuclear energy, including the British MEPs Den Dover, Roger Helmer, Geoffrey Van Orden and Terry Wynn. According to FORATOM: "This initiative adds political weight to the shared conviction among an increasing number of MEPs, as well as national politicians, scientists and NGOs that nuclear energy can help the EU to meet its Kyoto Protocol CO2-reduction commitments and mitigate the effects of climate change."[7]

Terry Wynn, seen as a long-time pro-nuclear campaigner, told the conference: “We can’t have a debate on climate change without discussing nuclear energy, and while I encourage renewable energy sources, let’s get real, none of them will ever run the Brussels metro system”.

The central theme of Wynn’s speech was that “the problems and the solutions for nuclear power are neither technical nor environmental, but political ones”. Other speakers included known climate sceptic Chris Horner, the Director of External Relations for the European Enterprise Institute – he also represents the Competitive Enterprise Institute and is counsel to the Cooler Heads Coalition.[8]

"Time to seize the initiative"

In March 2006, FORATOM hosted the second biannual pro-nuclear conference, under the banner "Nuclear energy: Riding the Winds of Change".

The conference literature argued: "Rising oil and gas prices are unsustainable. Climate change continues to threaten the environment. Energy demand continues to spiral. The current energy mix cannot adequately meet that demand, so the spectre of power cuts and black-outs could return to haunt us. The scenario is a familiar one. The economic and environmental challenges remain the same. But the energy debate has a new sense of direction and impetus. Economists, scientists, politicians and environmentalists are increasingly recognizing that nuclear energy is the only major energy source that can provide a secure supply of affordable and environmentally-friendly electricity. The time is ripe for the nuclear community to seize the initiative".

The conference chairman was Mike Parker from BNFL. Other speakers included Giles Chichester MEP, Pierre Gadonneix, the chairman of EDF and Andris Piebalds EU Commissioner for Energy.[9]

Website

www.foratom.org

Notes

  1. About us, FORATOM website, 22 November 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 Foratom in 2011, Foratom, 2011, accessed 29 January 2013
  3. Our members, FORATOM website, 7 February 2012
  4. NIA, Invoice to BNFL (pdf), 1 April, 2005.
  5. Foratom president and Institutional affairs, Foratom website, accessed 29 January 2013
  6. FORATOM's entry on EU lobbying transparency register, 11 June 2012
  7. Brian Johnson, MEPs urge EU leaders to ‘get real’ on nuclear energy, www.theparliament.com, 18 October 2005.
  8. FORATOM website
  9. FORATOM website
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