Research Tour: Climate change, war in Ukraine and the quest for energy security: What is the role of nuclear energy in Europe?

We are inviting: Journalists based in Europe
09 Oct - 12 Oct 2022
Germany, France, Switzerland
Import into your calendar

The nuclear phase-out in Germany seemed set to end decades of heated political debates, and satisfied a large majority in society, as well as among politicians and in the industry. Elsewhere, in Europe and other parts of the world, nuclear energy continues to play a major role; Germany’s phase-out is thus frequently considered as a mistake, also among climate activists. Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine, and the ensuing energy crunch, has caused the long-standing debate on nuclear to resurface within the country.

But what role can nuclear play in Europe’s push towards climate neutrality? Currently, only 13 of the 27 EU Members operate nuclear power plants, and only two are building new ones. The Clean Energy Wire Research Tour for journalists offers insights into the plans, controversies and issues faced in three European countries which, in some ways, have vastly different approaches to nuclear power: The EU powerhouses Germany and France, and their fiercely independent neighbour Switzerland.

Application deadline: 12 September 2022. Applications are closed.

Nuclear power plant Grohnde by Preussenelektra. Photo: Preussenelektra

Find the final programme here.

The production of electricity from nuclear power plants has been declining in recent years, with China being a notable exception. Since 2007 no new reactor has commenced operation within the EU, and only two new plants are currently under construction. However, since the EU is trying to accelerate its move away from fossil fuel reliance, the discussion in many countries has changed, leading to the option of nuclear being put back on the agenda.

Following decades of conflict and one of the most drastic turnarounds in German political history, Germany has had plans to phase out its last three nuclear reactors by the end of this year since 2011. However, in the midst of the european energy crisis, the federal government is currently conducting a stress and security test in order to establish whether a short-term extension of several months would be an option to deliver some relief.

Stuttgart, where our tour starts, is one of the powerhouses of the German economy, currently governed by a green politician in his third term. EnBW, the regional energy company owned by the state and regional public stakeholders, has plans to phase out its last nuclear plant by the end of this year in line with the current legislation.

Neighbour Switzerland, meanwhile, has decided to take a different approach: whilst the country will not build any new nuclear power plants, it will continue to let the three existing ones (among them the oldest reactor in Europe) run as long as the supervision authority permits them to. The country also plans to decide finally where to store its nuclear waste in September, which will make it one of the first countries to do so.

In stark contrast, France has bet strongly on nuclear energy as a future energy source. However, the country is currently facing an energy shortage due to the fact that half of its reactors are either being renovated, or producing less energy because the rivers the need to cool the plants are running low amidst the record-breaking draught. Nevertheless, the reactor in Flamanville, which has been under construction for many years, seems to finally be ready to produce electricity, meanwhile there are plans for the construction of several new plants.

So, what is the future of nuclear power in Europe as the continent aims to become climate neutral by 2050?

In meetings with leading experts, policymakers, nuclear industry and NGO representatives, this research tour will provide insights into the live debate in all three countries and will help in finding answers to questions like: Is nuclear energy a solution to the current challenges? Can it replace the use of fossil fuels? And is it a way to reduce European dependency on Russia?


Frequently asked questions on how to apply, costs and logistics

Who is eligible for the research tour? And how can I apply?

The research tour is open to journalists from all over Europe (country of primary residence).

To apply, please click on the red 'sign up' button above that will take you to the webform.

Please note that applications in any other language than English will not be accepted.

By submitting your application and upon its success, you agree that your name, associated media outlet, country of primary residence and email address will appear on the list shared with all participants if your application is successful. All data necessary to organise the tour will be shared with our partner Forum Energii.

What languages will be spoken during the tour?

All presentations during the workshop will be in English, or otherwise live translated into English.

Are there any costs for tour participants?

Participation in the research tour is free of charge. Furthermore, all expenses incurred during the tour, including food, accommodation and local transportation will be covered by Clean Energy Wire.

Journalists or editorial staff who have made an internal commitment not to accept free services from third parties, or who do not wish to participate in the research trip free of charge for other reasons, may pay for their own travel and share of accommodation and meals. Please contact us directly at

What about travel arrangements?

Selected participants will organise their own travel to Warsaw and back independently, and will be reimbursed for their expenses after the event. Do not book anything before you get the confirmation that you can take part. When arranging travel, participants are kindly asked to consider climate-friendly modes of transportation where viable and reasonable. Please keep in mind the budgetary constraints of up to 400 euro return connection for economy class travel. Participants who would like to cover their expenses on their own (travel, food, accommodation) can get an invoice upon request after the tour.

The tour will start on 3 October at 5.30 p.m. and will end on 6 October around 2 p.m. Participants that cannot arrive on 3 October in time can start on 4 October at 9.a.m. at the latest.

All successful applicants will be notified on how to claim reimbursement ahead of the tour. It is generally not possible to reimburse travel expenses in cash.

What are the deadlines?

Deadline for applications is 3 September, 2023. 

Please make sure to have access to your email, and do check the spam folder. If your application has been successful you will receive a confirmation email from CLEW no later than 6 September. In this event, please confirm your participation by 12 pm CEST on 10 September. Otherwise your place will be offered to another applicant.

What if I need a visa?

If you require a letter of invitation for your visa application, please let us know by sending an email to Please make sure you have a visa appointment at your embassy or consulate well before the research tour begins to leave enough time for visa processing.

Note: we do not reimburse visa fees or insurance costs.

I get an error message saying I’m over the character limit, but I don’t think I am?

The character limit is specified in the boxes. Note that the limit includes paragraph breaks. If you have removed all paragraph breaks and are otherwise 100 percent certain that you are below the limit specified, try using a different internet server. For example, if you have previously tried submitting unsuccessfully via Google Chrome, try Firefox, Microsoft Edge or Safari.

I have submitted an application but have not received a confirmation of receipt.

Please check your spam folder for an automatically generated email which will ask you to confirm that you submitted an application successfully.

You will then hear from CLEW regarding the outcome of your application no later than 6 September 2023.

What are the rules of citation during the tour?

Interviews and public debates between journalists and speakers follow different rules and practices in different parts of the world. To make the context of our media trip clear for all involved, we would like to set out the following framework guiding the interaction with participating journalists:

Quotes and interviews

  • We work on the basis that statements made by participants can be quoted by the journalists present in their media reports. However, during this tour we will have more exceptions from this general rule, so please ask us or the speakers if you're are not sure.
  • If speakers do not want to be quoted, we ask them to inform participating journalists where this is the case. Remarks may then be made "off the record" and will not be quoted.
  • Outside Germany it is not common practice for journalists to seek authorisation for quotes before using them. If a speaker does require the participating journalists to check quotes with the speaker before publishing, we ask the speaker to advise journalists of this.

Photos, audio or video recordings

  • We respect journalists’ fundamental right not to disclose the sources of their research. Some of the participants also come from countries where press freedom is under threat and where journalists are prosecuted. As a safeguard to participants’ rights and their well-being, we kindly ask the speakers not to take any photos or to make any film or audio recordings on which participants can be individually identified.
  • If the speakers would like to take photos or record audio or video of our visit, they can approach a staff member for Clean Energy Wire so that we can agree on safe and workable solutions.
  • If there are restrictions to taking photos or to making audio or video recordings on the premises, we will inform participants.

Don't hesitate to get in contact with us at

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