Despite recent setbacks for the nuclear power sector, there was much upbeat comment at Tuesday’s Nuclear Panel Discussion, at Nuclear Power Europe conference in Cologne, which dealt with the theme, ‘Investing in nuclear’.

Frank Apel of Areva pointed out that the public would be resistant to anti-nuclear policy, when they realised the increasing costs of energy in its absence.

“A television public poll in Germany last week found that 53 per cent of German people would be in favour of delaying the phase out of nuclear, if electricity prices were raised drastically, he said. This give me a little bit of hope”

However Norbert Haspel of Westinghouse feared that because the increase in price was happening incrementally, the reality was not obvious to people in general.  “Because it is happening in small steps consumers are not aware of the inflation of price over time and its linked to the nature of human beings.”

In terms of regaining the banking sector’s confidence in investing in nuclear power projects Mr Apel spoke about the importance of maintaining stable boundary conditions, and also ensuring continuity despite what he called ‘the Merkel risk.’

“There may be changes in politicians but banks will want to know, ‘Can you complete your project?’ Despite changes in the political scene, banks will need reliability.”

Other topics for discussion at the session included what was termed, the ‘elephant in the room’  –  nuclear liability, and a proposal by Stefan Hatt, Group Vice President, ABB Ltd that global insurance pool should be provided.

Mr (Apel expressed his belief that the industry will recover, not quiet reaching the level ofanother nuclear renaissance as before, but a revival in its fortunes nonetheless.

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