Germany to Brussels: Nuclear power must not be promoted as an investment

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Europe should not classify nuclear power as a sustainable investment that is therefore eligible for funding under the Green Deal. This is what seven environment, energy and industry ministers from the five EU states Germany, Spain, Austria, Denmark and Luxembourg demand in a fire letter to the EU Commission. Nuclear energy should therefore not be allowed to include this in its planned new classification scheme (taxonomy) for green financial investments.

“Nuclear power is incompatible with the principle of the Taxonomy Ordinance of causing no significant damage,” emphasize the government representatives, for whom Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) comes first. You warn in the letter published by the online portal “Euractiv”: “We are concerned that the inclusion of nuclear energy in the taxonomy would permanently damage its integrity, credibility and thus its usefulness.”

The ministers acknowledge that every country has the right to choose the form of its energy supply itself. However, nuclear power has no place in the requirements for sustainability and climate protection.

The Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC) had previously argued in March that nuclear energy is no more harmful to human health and the environment than any other electricity-generating technology. Nuclear accidents cannot be completely ruled out, but they are events with an extremely low probability, said the expert group. The storage of nuclear waste in deep geological formations could also be a suitable and safe means of isolating nuclear waste from the biosphere for a very long time.

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The alliance of states is now “dismayed” by the assessment of the Joint Research Center. Nuclear power is “a high-risk technology – wind energy is not,” emphasizes the alliance. “This essential difference must be taken into account”. The research center apparently deliberately ignored the possibility of a serious incident. After more than 60 years of using nuclear energy, “not a single fuel element has yet been disposed of anywhere in the world”. There is currently “no operational experience with deep geological repositories for high-level waste”.

“Many savers and investors would lose confidence in financial products marketed as ‘sustainable’ if they feared that the purchase of these products would finance activities in the field of nuclear power,” the Commission ministers point out. The Brussels government institution has now had three months to have the JRC report reviewed by the committees on radiation protection and waste disposal and on “Health, the environment and emerging risks”. Their assessments are to be published in the next few days before the Commission intends to present the taxonomy as a “delegated act”.

The member states of the EU are considered to be divided in their attitude towards nuclear power. Germany wants to take its last nuclear power plant off the grid next year. Schulze celebrated the tenth anniversary of the bipartisan nuclear phase-out decision on June 30, 2011 in the Bundestag during the week as a “historic achievement”: “It pacified conflicts, reduced the risk of accidents, avoided nuclear waste.” Nuclear energy is “yesterday, even beyond our borders”. She worries, however, that the nuclear power that is still partly generated there is “increasingly coming from outdated reactors”.

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In contrast, France and a group of Eastern European countries such as Hungary are promoting nuclear power. You are campaigning for the EU to support nuclear power as part of the climate change policy. Even the Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, who is responsible for the Green Deal, thinks little of it. Once the Brussels executive has passed its legal act, the member states could only bring it down again with high hurdles.


(bme)

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