A project investigating the role of nuclear power on the energy map of Europe is about to be started in the Lappeenranta University of Technology, LUT. The study will involve, in total, 26 European countries and is the most extensive project studying nuclear power in Europe. It is the first to form a comprehensive picture on the role of nuclear power in Europe.
The use of nuclear power is a strongly polarising political question in Europe, and there are active and constant discussions and debates on the matter. The purpose of the study is to dispose of this dichotomy continuously undermining nuclear power.
”We collect multidisciplinary data in order to better understand how people define nuclear power, what is the role of the society and how does it steer decision-making and the development of the entire nuclear industry. Our aim is to use research knowledge to establish a socially, politically and economically stable situation for nuclear power”, explains Professor Karl-Erik Michelsen of the LUT School of Business and Management.
Two phases, three viewpoints
In the project, the role of nuclear power will be examined from national, international and civil societal viewpoints. The research will proceed in two phases. In the first phase, national data on all of the involved countries and information on supranational institutions will be collected. In the second phase, a group of approximately 20 international researchers will analyse all collected data.
”The basic data will be comprised of the importance and proportion of nuclear power in the national power production of each country. It will also be examined how different power companies, politics and citizens influence the status of nuclear power and what are the economic impacts of nuclear power production. All information will be gathered into an extensive data bank, which can be utilised by researchers and the industry in the future.”
In order to observe political decision-making, comparable data will be collected from democratic and non-democratic countries, and democratic and authoritarian technology will be examined. The data will be used to find out the proportion of national and multinational decision-making and how this has influenced the decisions made on nuclear power.
”In some countries, nuclear power production has been imported from elsewhere, which makes the role of the citizen minor. In countries where production and technology have been developed further, nuclear power has a more significant role from the socio-economic point of view. The study will help us determine how nuclear power production and its side effects and the development of technology are apparent in, for example, national economy or the number of jobs.”
Based on a national comparison, the researchers will assess the current state of nuclear power in entire Europe and construct future scenarios on how the role of nuclear power will evolve.
The project will last four years, includes 36 researchers from different European countries and has the value of 3.6 million euros. The project is coordinated by the University of Barcelona. The role of LUT is to construct and maintain a comprehensive data bank and to assemble an international network of researchers. The research project will receive funding from the Horizon 2020 framework programme, an EU funding programme for Research and Innovation from 2014 to 2020 formulated by the European Commission.