Nuclear power and gas could become “green” energies

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The EU Commission decides on the taxonomy regulation. A state initiative under France’s leadership wants to make nuclear energy “green”. Austria is considering legal remedies.

The EU Commission’s decision on the taxonomy regulation is getting closer and so is the answer to the question of whether nuclear energy and natural gas comply with the guidelines for sustainable financial investments. Both energy sources were still missing from the relevant legal act when it was presented in April. In October, a state initiative led by France called on the Commission to give nuclear energy “green”. Austria would appeal in this case.

For the Austrian Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens), if nuclear power and gas were included in the taxonomy, nothing less than their credibility would be at stake: “The taxonomy makes it clear which economic activities serve our environmental goals and do not cause any significant damage This short definition makes it clear: This can neither apply to nuclear power nor to fossil gas. For this reason there is also no legal basis for including nuclear power in the taxonomy, “argued Gewessler on the basis of two legal opinions.

Austria is not alone with this opinion, Germany is also against nuclear energy in the taxonomy. Both countries, as well as Denmark, Portugal and Luxembourg, came up against it two weeks ago at the UN climate conference in Glasgow. At the same time, the five-state federation also emphasized that each EU state is of course free to choose which energies it uses. The same was also in a joint letter to the EU Commission, at that time with Spain but without Portugal.

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France and fellow campaigners, above all Eastern European countries, however, argue with the need for nuclear energy as an “affordable, stable and independent energy source” that is also CO2-neutral. According to the opinion of the law firm Redeker-Sellner-Dahs, it is “irrelevant that the generation of nuclear power is often viewed as a low-carbon activity. As such, this is not sufficient to meet the requirements of the Taxonomy Ordinance,” it says there.

France: “Don’t think taxonomy without nuclear power”

In any case, French President Emmanuel Macron is relying on nuclear energy again and also said that climate neutrality could not be achieved by 2050 without it – 70 percent of French electricity comes from nuclear power plants. At the beginning of this week, France’s finance minister Bruno Le Maire was quoted in the “Handelsblatt” as saying: “We cannot think taxonomy without nuclear power” – nuclear energy “is part of French identity”.

The outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel also spoke up and emphasized on the one hand that nuclear power is a bridging technology for France, but “we say that for us natural gas has to be classified as a bridging technology,” said Merkel. The EU Commission is smart enough to know that in the end an overall strategy for the climate protection strategy “Fit for 55” will be necessary. Austria rejects all plans to include nuclear power and fossil gas in the taxonomy: “We have already communicated this position to the Commission several times and have backed it up with a legal opinion,” said Gewessler.

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(APA/dpa/AFP)

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