The EU plans to classify nuclear power and natural gas as green energy sources

The EU plans to label energy from nuclear power and natural gas as “green” sources of investment, despite internal disagreement over whether they really qualify as sustainable alternatives.

The proposal, which was seen by AFP on Saturday, aims to support the bloc with 27 nations towards a carbon-neutral future and gild its credentials as a global standard setter in combating climate change.

But the fact that the European Commission quietly distributed the text to Member States late on Friday, in the last hours of 2021 after the much-delayed document had been promised twice earlier in the year, highlighted the rocky road to drafting it.

If a majority of member states support it, it will be EU law that will enter into force in 2023.

France has led to the inclusion of the accusation of nuclear power – its main source of energy – despite strong opposition from Austria and skepticism from Germany, which is closing all its nuclear power plants.

Fossil-dependent countries in the EU’s east and south have also defended the use of natural gas, at least as a transitional source, although it still produces significant greenhouse gas emissions.

“It is necessary to recognize that the fossil gas and nuclear energy sectors can help reduce CO2 emissions in the Union economy,” the Commission proposal states.

It added that for nuclear power, appropriate measures should be taken for the management and disposal of radioactive waste.

And for gas, the limit values ​​for carbon dioxide emissions should be set far below those produced by coal-fired plants, it is said.

EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said last month that the EU must be “pragmatic”.

He said the bloc would need to double its total electricity production over the next three decades and that “it is simply not possible without nuclear power”.


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