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International Policy Update

Nuclear Energy/Small Modular Reactors in Europe 

Over the last several years, the outlook for nuclear energy in Europe has become much brighter, presenting new and exciting opportunities for ASME. For decades, many countries in Europe had not considered including nuclear energy in their energy mix and now an increasing number have expressed real interest in using a wide variety of nuclear technologies. Some of the drivers behind this trend include: high energy prices, the need to reduce or eliminate dependence on foreign energy sources, limitations of renewable energy backed by natural gas, and the realization that ambitious EU climate goals can’t be met without the inclusion of nuclear energy.  

While this policy trend in Europe presents opportunities for traditional nuclear power plants, Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and other advanced reactor technologies may show the most promise. Not only are there clear and positive signals from certain countries across the continent regarding the adoption of nuclear energy, European Union (EU) policymakers have recently voted on and announced ambitious legislative and policy initiatives to actively support these efforts. 

The Net-Zero Industry Act  

The European Commission (EC) proposed the Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA) on March 16, 2023, to strengthen Europe’s manufacturing capacity of net-zero technologies and overcome related manufacturing challenges. The act sets a target for Europe to satisfy 40% of its energy needs with net-zero technologies while capturing 25% of global market value for technologies in this field.  This winter, the European Parliament (EP) voted to expand the scope of the Net-Zero Industry Act to recognize nuclear energy as one of the Strategic Net-Zero Technologies with the potential to contribute to meeting the EU’s ambitious climate objectives.  

Small Modular Reactors 

In December, the EP Committee on Industry, Research and Energy published a landmark Own-Initiative Report on SMRs that recognizes the significant market potential for SMRs in the EU and calls on the EC to develop an “EU industrial strategy for SMRs.” Furthermore, based on preparatory work that began in 2022, the EC plans to launch a European Industrial Alliance on SMRs early this year.  

For a summary of the EP report, click here: 

For more detailed information about the alliance, click here: 

Your Voice Matters  

ASME members are influential constituents for nuclear related policy issues. Your voice matters! Let us know what you think on X (formerly known as Twitter). Share your ideas by using the handles below:   


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