Economic and Social Considerations for the Future of Nuclear Energy in Society

SECOND INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP: “Decarbonizing Europe’s energy system: Checking and choosing indicators for a sustainability assessment”

Feb 8, 2023 | events

Club University Foundation, Rue d’Egmont  11 – 1000 Brussels

Face-to-face 10:00-16:00 Thursday 30 March 2023

Download a PDF version of this invitation

The European Green Deal is the ambition to create the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050. To get there, Member States commit to cutting greenhouse gas emissions into less than half by 2030. This interim target depends on achieving changes in the energy mix: a higher share – 40% – should be supplied by renewable energy sources. How should that mix be composed? Which are the favored technologies? Are they available and how will they perform? What may be the place for nuclear generation technologies, old and new, in the mix? What are the criteria for proposing and evaluating respective shares? Who has a voice in selecting those criteria and in checking whether they are met?

Robust and accepted assessment methods are required to inform complex energy mix decisions in Europe. But the landscape is not static. In the run-up period to 2030 huge contextual forces move the cursor. At the least, these include: energy supply effects of the Russian offensive on Ukraine; the ramping up of unpredictable and heavy weather impacts throughout European territories; rising demand to be heard from diverse sectors of society coupled with a strong diversity of opinion and priorities. Looking farther towards 2050, innovation and disruptive technologies will affect generation sources, and a plethora of factors – economic, social and environmental –  will influence consumption needs. Assessment of energy technologies, to understand their potential and their desirability for 2030 and beyond, must embrace their sustainability over time and in the face of multiple pressures.

The European project ECOSENS invites you to participate in a demonstrator exercise. We have the task to develop and test a sustainability assessment methodology integrating a societal perspective on Europe’s future energy system that includes advanced and innovative technologies (comparing renewable and nuclear sources). We invite a group of specialist and non-specialist stakeholders to review the proposed assessment approach, help refine it through critical perspective and judgments, and recommend directions to European policy makers.

On Thursday 30 March 2023 ECOSENS organizes a by-invitation, in-person, hands-on workshop in Brussels.

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At this Second International Workshop, ECOSENS partners will present a proposed sustainability assessment methodology and hear your comments on its fitness for purpose. Together we will check that the selected method when applied can assess a complete energy system including renewables, nuclear, and any other sources; can include emerging technologies and future markets; can deliver a European-level result; can take into account special circumstances and specific choices made by Member States or societal stakeholders.

We will engage you in interpreting, selecting and ranking (weighting) the criteria to be used when applying the assessment method to estimate the profile and performance of electricity generation technologies at horizon 2030, 2050, and beyond.

  • The workshop is very interactive, with short opening presentations followed by group and sub-group discussions and collaborative tasks.
  • The outcome will be a written synthesis of judgments and advice regarding the proposed methodology, and participants’ list of selected/defined criteria and the weights they should be given. It is not planned to seek consensus, but rather to record different perspectives.
  • This workshop will be preceded on 29 March by an optional workshop on ‘Art and Science of imagining energy futures. Visions and vocabulary emerging there should help facilitate the multi-stakeholder debates during our work together on 30 March.
  • Participants will receive documentation clarifying the workshop tasks, and an anonymous questionnaire to assemble viewpoints to be interpreted (co-constructed) by the group.
  • A follow-up workshop will be held online in June 2023, to review and respond to a draft analysis of further assessment elements: societal and technological impacts on the future energy market.

Target audience:

The workshop aims to engage with invited representatives of diverse stakeholder groups, including researchers, policy- and decision-makers, civil society organizations, NGOs, industry, authorities, local information committees, and municipalities with nuclear facilities, among others.

Practical details:

The working language is English.

The face-to-face workshop will be held in Brussels, Thursday 30 March 10:00 – 16:00 including a networking lunch break.

Participants may also attend the informal dinner held the night before.

For workshop invitees traveling to Brussels, ECOSENS will fund or reimburse travel and stay. A supplementary per diem for civil society representatives will be provided.

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