By Antonio Morales and Rosa Espin

The news that the UK is to start construction on the first nuclear power plant to be built in two decades at Hinkley Point C has put nuclear energy firmly back among the headlines, but will this new £25bn investment signal a new Nuclear era in Europe?

It looks unlikely. Nuclear power plants currently generate nearly 30% of the electricity produced in the EU, yet there is a growing trend towards nuclear phase-out among member states. France is widely considered the leading nuclear power provider in the world and the largest net exporter of electricity, but the passage in France of the Energy Bill will result in a 25% decrease in nuclear energy by 2025. Similarly, Spain’s 1994 nuclear moratorium banned the construction of new nuclear power plants and suspended any ongoing construction works.

While the EU is, on the whole, phasing out nuclear power, emerging markets are increasingly turning to nuclear power to meet the ever-escalating energy demand from their growing populations. According to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2015, there are currently 62 nuclear reactors under construction worldwide, dominated by emerging economies such as China, Russia and India.