In 2016, there were 127 operating nuclear power plants (NPP) in the EU28 - about a third of the world’s total.
Half of the EU’s member states either never used nuclear power or decided to phase out their share of nuclear power, like Germany. The average age of a European NPP was 31.4 years old in 2016 and is steadily increasing.
More than half of Europe´s NPP have been operating for more than 30 years. As they get older, NPPs become riskier: the material becomes brittle - a process that is accelerated due to its constant exposure to radiation - and security standards become outdated. While security relevant components may fail at any time and not all materials can be exchanged, thereby increasing the frequency of incidents and, as a consequence, imminent risks.
In addition, revelations about faulty components and NPPs operating with reduced security, as well as cover-ups and lax controls by authorities, are causing increasing dismay.