A number of non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) have begun registering their disapproval of a European energy research program that they claim unfairly treats nuclear energy separately and provides an unjustifiably larger budget for that research when compared to all other energy sources.
According to an article titled NGOs attack EU nuclear research funding Friends of the Earth has computed that the specific numbers in the budget are Euro 2,951 million for energy research in the EU budget and Euro 4,753 million for nuclear research under the Euratom Programme.
I found a document titled Proposal for a Council Decision Concerning the specific programme implementing the seventh Framework Programme (20072011) of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) for nuclear research and training activities. According to that document:
In accordance with Article 3 of the Framework Programme, the amount deemed necessary for the execution of the Specific Programme shall be EUR 2553 million, of which 15% shall be for the Commission administrative expenditure.
Fusion energy research 2,159 Nuclear Fission and radiation protection 394
The numbers are quite a bit different from those quoted by Friends of the Earth, but I have to agree with FOE that they indicate a strange set of priorities.
Why in the world would the EU think that it is five times more valuable to throw money into fusion research – which has been about 50 years away from commercial production for about 50 years – than into ways of improving fission, a proven method of creating commercial power that is still a long ways from the point where there is nothing new to learn?
The question becomes even more emphatic when one realizes that radiation protection, nuclear medicine, and environmental clean up of old sites is lumped in with fission research for budgetary purposes.