The Netherlands need a serious discussion on nuclear energy

20-01-2021 | Artikel

Both Dutch and EU Climate policy goals are ambitious with climate neutrality (“no greenhouse gasses”) by 2050 as the ultimate target. Is this goal achievable without nuclear energy? Opening this Clingendael Spectator series the future of Dutch nuclear energy, Pieter Boot states when discussing the optimal energy mix for The Netherlands, all options should be on the table.

Over the past few years, more attention is given to the future of nuclear energy in the Netherlands. Some political parties include the subject in their electoral platforms, and webinars are being organised. This is understandable: European leaders have concluded that greenhouse gas emissions have to drop more steeply than envisaged before. Electricity will play a central role in the transition necessary to achieve the new climate targets. The question of whether nuclear energy could play a role in achieving these goals has therefore become relevant.

This article starts with placing the debate on nuclear energy in the context of Dutch climate policy. It examines power demand and the role of nuclear energy in Dutch energy scenarios. It will also focus on an often neglected element: the aim of diversification in energy systems. This all leads up to possibly the most difficult question: which interaction between public and private sectors would be necessary to bring nuclear energy forward?