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EU-Russian Nuclear Energy Cooperation: The 'marriage of Convenience' Has Become a 'marriage of Inconvenience'

Pam Barnes

Much academic analysis of EU-Russian energy cooperation focusses on the natural gas and oil energy sectors, however in this paper attention is directed to cooperation between the two parties in the field on nuclear energy. The unprecedented change to the geopolitical environment in Europe during 2014 challenges the agreed objectives of cooperation established since the early 1990s specifically those of nuclear safety, nuclear fuel security and nuclear technology collaboration. It appears that narrow Russian political ambition is undermining the economic and social benefits of EU-Russian nuclear energy cooperation. This paper uses a number of theoretical frameworks to analyze the evolving but seemingly short sighted paradigm shift in Russian policy from a traditional realist approach to that of ethno-nationalism. What are the implications for the EU? It is argued in this paper that it highlights the importance of the EU's member states adopting a concerted approach in their relations with Russia, irrespective of the national differences between the EU member states on the use of nuclear energy, and the continued opportunity provided by the legal framework of the EURATOM Treaty to support that joint action.



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