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Planet Ark World Environment News EU'S De Palacio says nuclear needed for Kyoto targets

Date: 15-Oct-99
Country: eu

"I'm not terribly keen on nuclear energy. I don't think anyone is,
because it does entail risks," de Palacio told a European Parliament
committee.

"But if we don't have it, we won't be able to stick by the terms of the
Kyoto agreement. And it does give us greater energy autonomy," de
Palacio said.

The 15-member EU undertook at Kyoto to cut its emissions of six gases
linked to global warming by eight percent from 1990 levels between 2008
and 2012.

A number of EU countries, including Germany and Belgium, are debating
scaling down or abandoning their nuclear power stations, which produce
no carbon dioxide but do carry risks of radiation leaks.

De Palacio told the parliament that efforts had to be made to secure
reliable long-term energy supplies for the EU. She said the bloc is
already dependent on imports for 50 percent of its energy needs and that
this could rise to 70 percent by 2020.

She called on the power industry and EU governments to redouble their
efforts to complete the process of liberalisation of the bloc's
electricity and gas sectors, threatening to introduce additional
legislation if markets were not opened in accordance with existing laws.

France is coming under growing pressure to finalise domestic legislation
to open a quarter of its electricity market up to competition. The rules
were supposed to apply from February this year.

"As guardians of the (EU) treaty, we cannot tolerate actions which might
damage this market," de Palacio said.

She also urged regulators to agree common rules on charging for the
transport of energy across borders and underlined the need for improved
gas distribution networks.

"I'll be happy to recommend additional legislative measures if the
industries can't do it for themselves. If they don't, we'll take the
necessary steps."

De Palacio said the benefits of liberalisation were already showing
through in lower prices, a vital precondition if European industry was
to compete with foreign competitors.

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