Updated June 7, 2017

Europe Overview

  • Nuclear closures threaten coal lock-in.
  • Of the 94 gigawatts (GW) of installed nuclear capacity globally at risk of being prematurely retired before 2025, 45 GW are in Europe.
  • Nuclear as a percentage of the European Union electricity, declined from 31 to 28 percent between 2000 and 2014. 
  • European Commission estimates electricity from nuclear nuclear will decline another 20 percent by 2025.


  • German emissions flat due to failure of solar and wind to make up loss of nuclear plants.

  • Germany plans to prematurely close 13 GW of nuclear power in coming years.


  • Sweden has 9 reactors that provide 43 percent of its electricity. All are at risk of premature closure.

  • Main drivers of closure threat are anti-nuclear tax imposed by government, as well as discriminatory subsidies and mandates for wind but not nuclear.

  • Most nuclear reactors in Sweden are majority-owned by Vattenfall, which is a 100% state-owned utility company.

  • Tax = 25% of production cost and 33% of consumer price.

  • There is no plan to replace nuclear with alternative low-carbon energy source.

  • Sweden's rapid deployment of nuclear in the 1970s and 80s was the fastest scale-up of clean energy in world history.


  • Seven nuclear reactors provide 47 percent of Belgium's electricity.

  • Belgium government has imposed a 0.5 cent/kWh anti-nuclear tax whose revenue is used to subsidize both natural gas and wind.

  • All seven reactors are scheduled to be closed by 2025, four of which would be retired 20 - 40 years prematurely (before their 60 to 80-year life span).

  • If all seven reactors are closed by 2025 they will be replaced overwhelmingly by fossil fuels.

United Kingdom

  • Unless something changes, UK will lose a net 6 GW of 8 GW total of its nuclear power by 2023.

  • Nuclear in UK was not included in subsidies provided for wind, and efforts to build a new nuclear plant have been delayed due to political reaction against perceived high cost of a new plant at Hinkley.


  • Swiss voters decided in May 2017 to close down all five of the country's nuclear reactors, which provide 38 percent of the country's electricity.

  • Swiss nuclear plants would be replaced overwhelmingly by coal and natural gas. 


  • France generates 75 percent of its electricity from nuclear and in 2015 passed a law that requires that nuclear power be limited to 50 percent of the country's total installed electrical capacity.