Nuclear industry hopes Ukraine crisis to boost business in Europe via Reuters

PARIS, March 21 (Reuters) – Western players in the nuclear industry are hoping the conflict between Ukraine and Russia could help push countries in Eastern Europe that rely on Russian gas to turn to atomic energy.

Tension between Russia and the West over the future of Ukraine is spurring the European Union to renew efforts to end decades of dependence on Russian gas, which accounts for about a third of the bloc’s supplies.

The nuclear industry, whose prospects were hit by the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011, has been keen to promote its advantages as a domestically produced source of clean energy by comparison with imported gas and polluting coal-fired plants.

“I think it is wise for eastern Europe to be evaluating nuclear, because it forces them to be less dependent on external forces, external politics,” Donald Hoffman, president of the American Nuclear Society (ANS), told Reuters on the sidelines of the SFEN nuclear industry conference in Paris.

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