The event was organised by the European Movement, a European federalist association, and featured a range of panellists including MEPs and representatives of industry and a pro-nuclear environmental NGO.
A show of hands at the beginning of the event indicated that most of the several hundred audience participants are in favour of using nuclear as a main element of the EU's future energy mix, with a "sizeable minority" opposed. There are also signs of a "nuclear renaissance" in the EU, with public opinion shifting somewhat in favour of the technology amid growing concerns over climate change and energy security.
While the conference included emotional interventions and charged discussions, a number of participants indicated that the essential elements of the debate have changed little in recent decades, with waste and security issues still high on the agenda. Meanwhile a Eurobarometer survey, published yesterday (3 July), shows that many citizens might change their opposition to nuclear if radioactive waste issues were satisfactorily resolved.
A number of speakers and participants also lamented that discussions on nuclear are seldom based on fact and scientific evidence, but rather on "ideology".