The new Dutch government was set on ringing in its term with a veritable bang when it announced that it may construct two new nuclear reactors in what could be a radical departure from Amsterdam’s previously more nuclear-skeptic stance. The move is meant to help the Netherlands cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% come 2030, compared with 1990 levels, with a broader view towards achieving climate neutrality by 2060. By turning towards the “taboo” topic of nuclear energy, the Dutch coalition is swimming against the stream of (most) European politics, where nuclear power is currently under renewed criticism, ranging from questions about its viability and its possible role in geopolitical maneuvering.
Particularly the latter question comes from an unexpected direction – Finland – one of the most openly pro-nuclear governments in the EU. In October, the country’s Defence Ministry called for “a risk assessment to be carried out on the controversial Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant”, citing economic and geopolitical risks deriving from Rosatom’s involvement in the project. Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear vendor, is part of the Fennovoima consortium overseeing Hanhikivi’s construction.