An update of Patricia Lorenz’s study “Russian Grip on EU Nuclear Power” was commissioned by the Viennese Environmental Ombudsman and “Cities for a Nuclear Free Europe” (CNFE). The study analyses the European nuclear sector’s dependency on Russia. In particular, it also analyses possible EU strategies to reduce this dependency. The EU has not come any closer to substituting Russian goods and services in the nuclear sector in the medium term in the past year.
There are still strong interdependencies in the maintenance of existing reactors, the import of enriched uranium, the provision of fuel rods and the production of replacement components. Many of the services provided by Russia are highly specialised and can only be provided by alternative manufacturers to a limited extent to date.
Almost a third of Europe’s nuclear power plants are of Russian design. Currently, fuel for the older VVER-440 reactors in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Bulgaria can only be produced by Russian companies. The Westinghouse Group (USA) was therefore commissioned to develop new VVER-440 fuel rods. However, the study concludes that the production of new fuel elements will not be possible for several years.