PARIS – After nearly two decades, Europe’s antinuclear tide is showing signs of turning. For the first time in 15 years, a European country has begun construction of a nuclear reactor, and six more are likely to be built in the next decade. Other countries are revising plans to phase out their nuclear programs. And this week’s brief but brutal drop in Europe’s supplies of crucial Russian gas has only served to fuel the trend. “People are saying ‘let’s take a second look’ at nuclear power,” says William Ramsay, deputy executive director of the International Energy Agency. “Rising oil prices means nuclear is becoming more economically attractive, and gas prices are a second kick in the pants.” To reduce its dependence on oil and gas imports, Europe needs to “look at nuclear power and at renewable energy,” European Union Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said Wednesday. Nuclear power plants remain unpopular with a majority of Europeans, who are worried about what happens to the radioactive waste. Industry officials, however, are playing on the public’s competing worries about the effect of greenhouse gases on global warming. Nuclear plants, they point out, emit practically no CO2. “Nuclear is […]

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