EU Commission President von der Leyen: “We will need nuclear power”

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EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen fully supports her institution’s proposal for a taxonomy regulation. In an interview with the time: “We will need them as long as there are not enough renewable energies such as green hydrogen.”

“You can’t get 100 percent renewable energy by snapping your fingers or by wishful thinking,” said von der Leyen. A realistic way would have to be offered for this and private investments would also have to be used, which is why the taxonomy is being developed. “No investor who rejects gas or nuclear power needs to buy a financial product that contains these forms of energy,” said the Commission President. It can be seen at first glance whether natural gas or nuclear power is included, because transparency is part of the proposal.

On New Year’s Eve, the EU Commission presented its proposal for a taxonomy regulation. Von der Leyen now explained that this is a voluntary guide for private investors. This should enable investors to see immediately in which financial product their money is helping on the way to climate neutrality.

Renewable energies are at the top, but there must also be bridges to make the transition to a world with 100 percent renewables. “It is crucial to get out of the extremely dirty coal, which still accounts for more than 30 percent of electricity generation in Germany,” said von der Leyen.

Each EU country determines its own energy mix, and von der Leyen emphasized that gas-fired power plants are to be built in Germany for the transition. In the taxonomy, however, only those power plants would be taken into account that, for example, have a CO₂ budget that determines how much they are allowed to emit; In addition, they would have to be operated with hydrogen in 15 years at the latest.

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There is a very different starting point for nuclear power in Europe, said von der Leyen. “Almost everyone wants out of the very dirty coal, but opinions differ on natural gas and nuclear energy.” The Finnish government with the local Greens welcomed the fact that nuclear power is included in the taxonomy as a very low-CO₂ technology. Von der Leyen emphasized that investments should only be made in the best available technology. “There has to be a plan to reduce nuclear waste until none of it leaves the cycle.”

The EU Commission’s plan is met with resistance in Germany, and Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke has already announced a “clear no” to it in Brussels. The Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management again flatly rejected nuclear power, considering the classification of the EU Commission to be technically untenable.

The German Environmental Aid, which appealed to Chancellor Olaf Scholz yesterday, Tuesday, together with other environmental protection organizations, to take action against the taxonomy in its current form, has submitted a legal opinion on the taxonomy. This shows that “the regulations presented by the EU Commission for the construction of new fossil gas power plants are not compatible with the requirements of European law and with the precautionary principle of the European treaties”. Also, the inclusion of nuclear and fossil natural gas cannot be brought into line with the Basic Law and judgments of the Federal Constitutional Court.


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