Mr Raphael Heffron, University of Cambridge
This research assesses the formulation of nuclear energy policy in the European Union (EU) directly focusing on Romania. The European country was the last to build a nuclear power plant in the EU and is an important example for developing nuclear power to other Central and Eastern European countries. The research provides a first examination in academic literature of the nuclear energy policy experience in Romania. The results attest to the key role of government in nuclear energy policy development. This can have its advantages and disadvantages as specific examples from Romania reveal. Nevertheless, the Romania case demonstrates the priorities in decision-making for a government in the nuclear energy sector.
The paper also highlights the dichotomy of energy policy that pervades the EU. In one case, the nuclear energy sector needs to receive assurances and finance that can be labelled a form of state aid and not in line with EU competition law. While in the other, the sector can benefit from liberalised electricity markets and the full application of competition law to provide the finance needed to develop the sector. Romania shows the dichotomy in action exhibiting the different allowances and messages that emanate from the European Union for the nuclear energy sector.
This research concludes that for the new energy economy it is evident that reliance on the market policies of the past two decades is no longer possible. The dynamics of economic markets have changed, and the nuclear sector where massive capital investment is needed now necessitates the involvement of both government and the private sector working together. Transparency in decision-making is therefore of high importance for all concerned in the sector: the government, the private sector and the public. The research on Romania uniquely demonstrates how these three actor groups working in unison can deliver nuclear capability and development even in a recession economy.