“A group of ten EU countries, led by France, have asked the European Commission to recognize nuclear power as a low-carbon energy source that should be part of the bloc’s decades-long transition towards climate neutrality,” reports EuroNews. While greenhouse gas emissions from nuclear plants are “comparable” to those released by hydropower and wind, critics argue that the resulting radioactive waste is harmful to human health and the environment. “Despite the urgency to combat climate change, member states are still unable to reach a consensus on whether nuclear constitutes a green or dirty energy source,” adds EuroNews. From the report: Tapping into Europe’s ongoing energy crunch, the countries make the case for nuclear energy as a “key affordable, stable and independent energy source” that could protect EU consumers from being “exposed to the volatility of prices.” The letter, which was initiated by France, has been sent to the Commission with the signature of nine other EU countries, most of which already count nuclear as part of their national energy mix: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania. Nuclear plants generate over 26% of the electricity produced in the European Union.
[…] Despite the urgency to combat climate change, member states are still unable to reach a consensus on whether nuclear constitutes a green or dirty energy source. The Commission has postponed the crucial decision to let countries conclude the debate. On the one side, Germany, which plans to shut down all its reactors by 2022, is leading the anti-nuclear cause, together with Austria, Denmark, Luxembourg and Spain. “We are concerned that including nuclear power in the taxonomy would permanently damage its integrity, credibility and therefore its usefulness,” they wrote in July.
On the other side, France, which obtains over 70% of its electricity from nuclear stations, is fighting to label nuclear as sustainable under the taxonomy. As shown by the new letter, Paris has the backing of several Eastern states, which have already earmarked millions for nuclear projects. “While renewable energy sources play a key role for our energy transition, they cannot produce enough low-carbon electricity to meet our needs, at a sufficient and a constant level,” the letter says, describing nuclear power as a “safe and innovative” sector with the potential of sustaining one million high-qualified jobs “in the near future”.
A report (PDF) from the Commission’s research unit released earlier this year indicates Brussels could eventually side with the pro-nuclear team. The paper says greenhouse gas emissions from nuclear plants are “comparable” to those released by hydropower and wind, an assessment shared by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the United States Department of Energy. Critics, however, argue the resulting radioactive waste is harmful to human health and the environment. “Nuclear power is incredibly expensive, hazardous and slow to build,” says Greenpeace. Detractors are concerned about potentially disastrous nuclear accidents, similar to those of Chernobyl in 1986 or Fukushima in 2011, which are still deeply rooted in the collective imagination.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.