Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze has now spoken out against the EU Commission classifying nuclear power as sustainable at the international level. Together with the representatives of Denmark, Luxembourg, Austria and Portugal, she made a declaration for a nuclear-free EU taxonomy at the 26th World Climate Conference in Glasgow (COP26).
“We recognize the sovereign right of the member states to decide for or against nuclear energy as part of their national energy systems”, it says in the declaration. “We are concerned, however, that including nuclear energy in the taxonomy would permanently damage its integrity, credibility and thus its usefulness.”
Nuclear power is not compatible with the principle of the EU taxonomy regulation of “causing no significant damage,” the statement said. The five countries therefore urge the European Commission not to deviate from the path it has taken to make the EU the global lead market for sustainable finance.
Many savers and investors would lose confidence in financial products marketed as “sustainable” if they feared that buying these products would finance nuclear power. Several well-known institutional investors have spoken out against the inclusion of nuclear power. The five countries believe that these voices should be heard.
The EU Commission is currently working on a draft regulation on which investments should be considered sustainable. At the end of October, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that nuclear power and, for a transitional period, natural gas would be taken into account. The Commission should thus comply with the request made by France, which had approached the Commission together with other countries in March. French President Emmanuel Macron announced new nuclear power plants in a televised address this week, and the British government supports plans by the Rolls-Royce Group to develop mini-nuclear power plants.
The Austrian government had published a study this year, according to which nuclear power is not sustainable and also could not cope with climate change. The Joint Research Center of the EU Commission came to the conclusion in March that nuclear power is no more harmful than other forms of electricity generation.