Nuclear energy accounted for the largest share of European Union domestic production of primary energy in 2013 with 29 percent, ahead of renewables (24 percent), solid fuels (20 percent), gas (17 percent), oil (nine percent) and non-renewable wastes (one percent), a statement released yesterday by the EU’s statistical office Eurostat said.
The gross electricity generation from nuclear plants within the EU-28 countries in 2013 was 876.8 million gigawatt-hours (GWh), a 10.3 percent increase compared with 1990, equivalent to an average increase of 0.45 percent per year, Eurostat said. The figure was down slightly from 882.3 million GWh in 2012. The highest year since 1990 was 2004, with 1.008 billion GWh.
However, two different trends can be distinguished over this period, Eurostat said. From 1990 to 2004, the total amount of electricity produced in nuclear facilities in the EU-28 increased by 27 percent, reaching a peak of 1,008.4 million GWh in 2004. Then between 2004 and 2013, the total production of nuclear power in the EU-28 decreased by 13 percent.
Eurostat said the largest producer of nuclear power within the EU-28 in 2013 was, by far, France, with a 48.3 percent share of the total, followed by Germany (11.1 percent), the UK (8.1 percent), Sweden (7.6 percent) and Spain (6.5 percent). These five member states accounted for more than 80 percent of the total amount of electricity generated in nuclear facilities in the EU-28.
From 1990 to 2013, most of the countries operating nuclear facilities increased their production of nuclear power: the Czech Republic (+144.3 percent), France (+34.9 percent), Slovakia (+30.6 percent), Finland (+22.8 percent), Slovenia (+14.7 percent), Hungary (+11.9 percent), the UK (+7.4 percent), Spain (+4.5 percent) and Romania, which started operation of its nuclear facilities in 1996.
The rest of the countries decreased their production of nuclear power, with Germany recording the most significant decrease in absolute terms (-55,178 GWh), followed by Lithuania (-17,033 GWh) which ceased operation of its nuclear facilities in 2009. Other countries which reduced their production of nuclear power within the same period were Sweden (-1,728 GWh), the Netherlands (-611 GWh), Bulgaria (-494 GWh) and Belgium (-78 GWh).
Eurostat also said energy consumption was back to its early 1990s level and down by 9.1 percent compared to its peak in 2006.