Nuclear disarmament is the key to global security as well as for a sustainable future and the prevention of the climate collapse. For decades, not only the peace movement has therefore been calling for nuclear weapons to be removed from the world.

After the end of the Cold War between East and West around 1990, effective disarmament treaties were indeed concluded between the U.S. and Russia, the two most powerful nuclear powers. But this hopeful process came to an abrupt end many years ago. Nuclear armament not only in Russia and the US, but also in other countries, such as France, Great Britain, China, India and many others has increased massively again. By the way, this is the key driving force of many governments to build new nuclear power plants, because they are the source of nuclear weapons material.

However, now there emerged a remarkable proposal for nuclear disarmament in the context of the Ukraine war, which deserves more attention. Oscar Arias, Ex-President of Costa Rica Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and Jonathan Granoff, President of the Global Security Institute, have suggested that the U.S. should withdraw all U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe and Turkey as a unilateral sign. This could get Putin’s attention to move him to the negotiating table and possibly agree to an end to the war in Ukraine.

This proposal would be a sign of de-escalation on the part of the U.S. in the increasingly hardening Ukraine war. This could effectively move Putin and deprive him of one of his most important propaganda arguments for his merciless aggression. Europe’s conventional defense capability against the aggressor Russia in the Ukraine war would remain fully intact. In this respect, there would be no security risks for Europe.

Unfortunately, this important proposal has not found its way into the international media and is obviously not being discussed in the German government.

The withdrawal of all U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe, and thus also from Germany, is a long-standing demand of the the German Green Party. For that reason the Green Party’s candidate for chancellor and current foreign minister Annalena Baerbock , amongst others, had called for the withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from Germany during the last federal election campaign.

Oscar Arias is a remarkable politician who has made a significant difference in Costa Rica. In Costa Rica, the military budget was largely abolished and invested primarily in education. Ultimately, this also had an impact on Costa Rica’s relatively rapid achievement of its goal of converting its own power supply to 100% renewable energies. Oscar Arias knows how to create peace and climate protection with innovative political ideas. We should learn from him and Foreign Minister Baerbock would do well to adopt this proposal and initiate corresponding talks with the USA, as she already had proposed during her own election campaign. We should seize every opportunity to end the horrific war in Ukraine and implement it politically. The proposal of Oscar Arias has the potential to make a relevant contribution to the de-escalation of this conflict and needs to receive more attention from the international community.

In 2006, the Energy Watch Group (EWG) published a study on the future global uranium production.

At that point, it was and still is the prevailing opinion – especially in the nuclear community – that uranium could always be mined in sufficient quantities, no matter how many nuclear reactors were built and how much uranium was used for the fuel elements.  

On page 5 of the EWG study mentioned above, there is a graph on the future uranium production, based on a comprehensive study of uranium mines and uranium deposits not yet developed, which forecasts how future uranium production on earth could develop:


The study results were often denied by other institues and branded as inaccurate, because they showed a shortage of uranium production starting around the year 2020. 

For example, the EWG study predicted that the annual uranium production would peak around 55 kilotons (kt) in 2020, assuming uranium costs remained at low levels of $40/kg. After this peak, a steep decline in production would be expected. If the price was to rise to $130/kg, production would be expected to peak around 2025 at a level of 70 kt of annual production and decline steeply thereafter. Currently, the uranium price is $56/kg. 

As the latest Uranium Atlas shows on page 12, uranium production is roughly following the EWG’s analyses from 2006, with the previous global production peak of 70 kt passed in 2015. Since then, global uranium production has dropped significantly to below 50 kt in 2020, much earlier and faster than even the EWG study predicted:On page 5 of the EWG study mentioned above, there is a graph on the future uranium production, based on a comprehensive study of uranium mines and uranium deposits not yet developed, which forecasts how future uranium production on earth could develop

This development should sensitize the world’s energy policy maker 

Compared to renewable energies, nuclear power is not only much more expensive. It also usually takes several decades longer to build a nuclear reactor and construction costs are often more than three times higher than planned. In addition, safety issues and the problem of nuclear waste disposal still havent been resolved, and military misuse of nuclear matrial for nuclear weapons remains common. 

Nevertheless, amongst others, governments in Eastern Europe amongst are planning nuclear reactors today that will not be operational for at least another decade or two. Blind faith is placed, without deeper analysis, in the fact that uranium mines would continue to produce cheap uranium for another 50 years. 

But the significant and for many unexpected decline in global uranium production since around the year 2015 speaks a different language. It is more likely that even with increased prices, uranium will no longer be available in sufficient quantities to operate all of the world’s nuclear reactors in 20 years. 

A second period, similiar to the one from 1995 to 2005, when successful nuclear disarmament decisions resulted in the destruction of weapons uranium in nuclear reactors, making the extraction of uranium from mines partially obsolete, is no longer in sight. After the end of this weapons uranium destruction in 2005, uranium production therefore rose steeply again. 

However, this rebound in global production was not achieved by restoring higher uranium production from traditional mines in the USA, Russia, Germany (GDR), South Africa and the Czech Republic, but almost exclusively by opening up new mines, especially in Kazakhstan, and to some extent in Australia and Canada. This too will hardly be possible in the future, as regions with large undeveloped uranium deposits, like Kazakhstan 20 years ago, are no longer existing. 

Many of the planned projects for the expansion of nuclear reactors in the world most likely won’t be able to go into operation even after their construction is completed, because they simply will not have any uranium left or the high uranium prices will drive the operation of nuclear reactors even deeper into inefficiency compared to renewable energies. 

However, of course, a standstill or even a shutdown of existing nuclear reactors can also reduce the demand for uranium. That is exactly what is taking place at the moment. 

All the claims from the nuclear supporters, stating that nuclear power is a reliable energy source, are being disproved in France, the No. 1 nuclear country, right now. Due to rust and cracks in pipelines and several other causes, 29 of 56 nuclear power plants in France are currently at a standstill. 

The security of electricity supply in France is therefore seriously threatened. Wholesale electricity prices in France are currently 240 euros per MWh, despite a government-imposed electricity price cap. Prices of over 500 euros are even being traded for 2023. 

By comparison, the exchange electricity price in Germany on the EPEX spot market was 165 euros/MWh in April 2022. 

German exchange electricity prices would certainly be even lower if the expensive and scarce French nuclear power were not driving electricity prices up in Germany via international electricity trading. 

This shows once again that the story of cheap and secure nuclear power is nothing but a fairy tale. In a few years, it is to be expected that the further shortage of uranium production will additionally drive up nuclear power prices. The EWG’s analysis from the year 2006 has predicted the developments that accurately that it seems likely it will be able to forecast the actual availability of uranium in the coming years as well. 

Thus, it must be clear: Any new nuclear construction is building up on the false belief of endless availability of uranium, and even the operation of existing reactors is highly uncertain, as the current example of France teaches us. 

Only the rapid expansion of renewables can provide a guarantee for a secure and cost-effective power supply in the future. Relying on nuclear power is a misconception, which has been recognized in the anti-nuclear movement for many decades and which is becoming more and more obvious today. 


March 20, 2018, Berlin – During his state visit to India, France’s President Macron agreed with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week to sell six French EPR reactors for the largest nuclear power plant planned in Jaitapur. Regardless of the fact that India has not yet signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The plutonium from the reactors could be completely used for the construction of nuclear weapons without international control. In terms of energy, too, all EPR construction projects in recent years are highly problematic.

The European Pressurized Reactor (EPR), proclaimed in the 1990s as a new impetus for the renaissance the European nuclear industry, proved to be a financial disaster, fulfilling none of the industry promises, a new brief by the Energy Watch Group shows.

The EPR construction sites in Flamanville (France), Olkiluoto (Finland) and Hinkley Point C (UK) are exemplary of the failed nuclear industry with no single EPR having been completed to date. All existing EPR projects are characterized by years of commissioning delays, grave technical and security problems and exploding construction costs of up to tens of billions Euros.

The further construction of these reactors was secured only by means of multi-billion Euro state rescue packages. As a result, nuclear companies, especially the French AREVA and EDF, are increasingly under pressure and risk of bankruptcy as it was in the case of the US-Japanese company Westinghouse.

“The promises of “inherently safe” EPR reactors did not materialize and turned into a heavy burden to European taxpayers. It is time to immediately end all new nuclear energy projects and phase-out the existing ones, ” President of the Energy Watch Group Hans-Josef Fell and co-author of the brief said. “Renewable energy sources are the safest and financially better solution today. There is no longer any single reason to rely on or invest in nuclear energy.”

“The security threats of the aging European nuclear reactor fleet are constantly increasing. The new generation of EPR reactors even worsens security and financial risks for the population. Old and new flaws are closely interwoven, as the nuclear triangle Fessenheim-Flamanville-Hinkley Point clearly shows”, Eva Stegen, independent energy consultant, working for the electricity provider EWS Schönau, and co-author of the brief said.

The Energy Watch Group brief “The disaster of the European nuclear industry” documents the following disastrous developments in the EPR construction sites and nuclear as a whole in the European Union:

  • As of today, none of the EPR construction projects in the EU was completed. The EPR reactor in Hinkley Point C (the UK), which was due to provide first electricity by Christmas 2017, was postponed until 2027. The EPR project in Flamanville (France), which was due in 2012, was postponed until 2020. The Olkiluoto site in Finland is over 12 years behind its initial schedule.
  • All EPR projects are characterized by massive cost overruns. The original cost estimates of 3 billion Euros have now more than tripled to about 10.5 billion Euros at Flamanville and 8.5 billion Euros at Olkiluoto.
  • As of today, EDF has accumulated a debt of 61 billion Euros and AREVA 10 billion Euros in debt. The French state had to grant AREVA 4.5 billion Euros as state aid, EDF could only be rescued by a 3 billion Euros capital increase.
  • By February 2013 the costs of nuclear clean up of the Sellafield site had amounted to nearly £ 70 billion. Every year about £1.6 billion are added on top.
  • An unpublished British government study has shown that wind and solar power would generate electricity at half the cost of the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant.
  • The driving force behind the UK government’s affinity to nuclear technology is the cross-subsidization of the military nuclear program. A study by University of Sussex has proved in detail, what is openly communicated by the military, but vehemently denied by the energy sector: the maintenance of the civilian nuclear program is a financial relieve for the defence budget
  • The EPRs are far from being “inherently safe” as the industry claimed. Currently the technical problems of the EPR projects seem unresolvable. The serious flaws in the bottom and lid of the EPR reactor pressure vessel in Flamanville cannot guarantee its safe operation. EU research on the fourth generation of nuclear power plants is an indirect admission that there are currently no inherently safe reactors, not even the EPR.
  • Terrorist and cyber attacks on nuclear facilities become increasingly likely. Hinkley Point C appears to be relying on purely digital control technology for its reactor protection, which is significantly susceptible to failure and terrorist digital attacks.
  • Renewable energy technologies are much cheaper, faster to install and can provide safe and secure power. A recent study by the Energy Watch Group and Lappeenranta University of Technology proved that renewable energy and storage systems could cover the worldwide electricity demand, even without a base load.


Find the complete brief here in englishdeutsch, français.


Press contact: Energy Watch Group, Tel: +49 30 609 898 810, presse©

About the Energy Watch Group

The Energy Watch Group (EWG) is an independent, non-profit global network of scientists and parliamentarians. The EWG commissions research and independent studies and analyses on global energy developments.

New Study: Low-Cost Energy System in India without Nuclear and Coal Base Load by 2030 Feasible

September 27, 2016, Berlin/Lappeenranta – In India, energy supply, fully based on renewable energy sources, storage and distribution, is feasible and the most cost-effective option for 2030 assumptions, a new study by the Lappeenranta University of Technology and the Energy Watch Group shows.

“Our modelling has proven that fluctuating wind and solar energy, supplemented by highly flexible bioenergy, hydropower, geothermal energy and storage, can provide the lowest-cost electricity in India by 2030 on an hourly basis and during all seasons throughout the year, including the monsoon period”, the study lead author and professor of Solar Economy at Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland, Christian Breyer, said. “In such sustainable and future-oriented energy systems, nuclear and coal-fired base load would be unreasonable and disruptive”.

“Despite some positive political initiatives on renewable energy in India, including the International Solar Alliance, the Indian government still does not give up its plans on new coal and nuclear power plants, arguing that they are indispensable for the power supply base load. Our study proves just the opposite,” President of Energy Watch Group and former Member of the German Parliament Hans-Josef Fell said.

“We believe that by investing in rapid renewable energy and storage, India has high chances to join and even overtake the leading countries on renewable energy,” Fell added.

The study represents the first research results for achieving a solid basis for the Indian future-oriented energy system in line with the Paris Agreement targets. The authors plan an extensive research on the entire energy system in India, including transport, heat, seawater desalination and the industrial sector.

The projections of the International Energy Agency (IEA) for PV have proven to be unreliable in the past. The Energy Watch Group had discussed this in detail in September 2015. The analysis of the current World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2015 shows that the IEA apparently remains at its assessments for future energy scenarios. The following analysis demonstrates this fact on the concrete example of the projections for photovoltaics (PV).

In the recent years, the IEA has ignored the rapid market growth of renewable energies particularly the added capacity of PV and used outdated data in its scenarios. Thus, the IEA ignored the market growth in 2014 and the new added capacity record for the year 2015, which could be recognized already in September. In particular, the IEA makes the highly unlikely assumption that the market growth for PV drops in 2014 and the annual added capacity remains lower than in 2013 for the next decades. For a still young world market, these are highly unlikely assumptions, which could only be conceivable if political decisions would regulate solar power as undesirable worldwide.

Figure 1: Added PV capacity

Figure 1 shows the annual market volume for PV. The black solid bold line shows the real added capacities from 1990 to 2015. For 2015, however, at the end of September an estimate of international market research analysts suggests an annual added capacity of 55- 60 GW. In the WEO, no concrete added capacity numbers are mentioned. This insight can be counted back from total installed power capacity. Since the values in the WEO are only given in five-year steps the Energy Watch Group has calculated an adapted scenario, matching the cumulative installed power capacity of the WEO. For each time period, a constant added capacity rate was calculated to reflect the exact value for each year.

At least until 2035, the annual added capacity rate of WEO 2015 „New Policies Scenario“ remains below the level of 2013. The Energy Watch Group has made various assumptions in the calculations on the lifetime of the PV systems. With a lifetime of 30 years, a rapidly increasing proportion of old plants must get substituted starting from 2035. Taking this into consideration, assumptions of the IEA mean that the net added capacity starts to decline again from 2035.

Assuming a PV system lifetime of 25 years, the beginning of the substitution of old power plants shifts by 5 years. Taking this into account, the net added capacity rate till 2030 in the WEO remains below the already experienced real expansion rates in 2013. Thereafter, the gross added capacity rate must increase significantly. Table 1 shows for the respective periods the calculated gross expansion rates, leading to the installed power rates of the IEA scenario.

Table 1: PV market growth rate

The required increased added capacity rate of the last five-year interval against the trend of previous years is implausible. This leads to the assumption that the IEA has not taken into account the need for repowering.

In addition, the figure shows the added capacity rates, as they were used in the WEO 2013 and the WEO 2014. However, only the average net added capacity rate was calculated from the difference of the installed power. Nevertheless, it shows how the scheme of the IEA continues. In either scenario, it is assumed, that the market growth at the beginning of the scenario arrived at the maximum and will decline in the future.

There are other institutions dealing with market scenarios for solar power generation. One of the best known is the scenario energy [r]evolution created on the regular basis, which was jointly commissioned by Greenpeace, GWEC and SPE in 2015 and carried out by the renowned German Center for Aerospace. Figure 2 shows the IEA scenario together with energy [r]evolution 2015 and the forecasts of Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), published in the ‚New Energy Outlook 2015‘. Energy [r]evolution updates the empirically observed market growth in recent years. In previous reports of energy [r]evolution it was observed that the projections corresponded quite well with the real development. This is true not only for PV but to a similar extent for wind energy.

Misleading IEA scenarios can not be perceived as credible. It is hard not make any judgment of its intentions.

Figure 2: Added PV capacity – WEO 2015 (NPS) scenario and Greenpeace – energy [r]evolution 2015

The decline of added capacity in the Greenpeace energy [r]evolution scenario from 2040 is justified by the fact that an even nearly 100% renewable energy supply is reached. Therefore fossil and nuclear power plants are already substituted and thus there is only a substitution requirement for already built power plants, but it comes in use later in full volume due to the long technical lifetime of PV systems. It should be noted that other authors expect higher installation numbers around the middle of the century and in particular no decline, which is essentially based on the fact that it is assumed on the one hand, a higher proportion of PV in the energy mix an on the other hand, a higher worldwide energy demand.

The global political economic conditions point to an even faster growth of added capacities compared to the previous expansion rates: The cost of PV will continue to decline, as well as the cost of battery storage, which will further stimulate growth of PV installations. At the same time even more financial investors divest from financing fossil and nuclear projects. This is partly because political blockades in Europe hinder a fundamental reform of the electricity market design, therefore only poor financial returns can be expected. Moreover in many parts of the world climate change is finally being taken seriously by an increasing number of financial investors and private investors concerned about the incalculable risk of nuclear power. This liberated capital is increasingly being invested in renewable energies. Particularly in view of this very dynamic development for years, the IEA forecast for PV and other renewable energy sources appear incomprehensible.