PRESS RELEASE: EU Summit – Member States aim to declare nuclear power as sustainable
PRESS RELEASE, Thursday, 10th of December 2020 – Brussels
EU Summit: Member States aim to declare nuclear power as sustainable
The European heads of state and government are currently meeting in Brussels. Their position on the European climate target 2030 is being eagerly awaited. France and the Visegrad countries in particular are using the pressing climate crisis to lobby for the nuclear industry in Brussels today.
Under the pretext of “technological neutrality,” nuclear power could be classified as a sustainable energy source. Under the new EU funding rules, known as the Taxonomy, EU investment may only be directed to sustainable technologies that do not cause significant harm. Several member states are pressuring to declare nuclear power as sustainable and safe. This would allow billions from the European Green Deal to flow into nuclear power plants. Money that will then be missing for the financing and expansion of renewable energies, the restructuring of our economy and for research.
France is currently pushing ahead with the extension of the operating lives of several old reactors without an adequate cross-border environmental impact assessment, in violation of international law. The reactors were built for a maximum operating time of 40 years and have now reached their shutdown age. Retrofitting them to meet current safety standards would be unaffordable and in some cases technically impossible. Nevertheless, the reactors are planned to remain on the grid for another 20 years to produce hydrogen from nuclear power. At the same time, France is trying to sell new reactors to Slovakia and Poland to save the insolvent nuclear company EDF.
MEP Jutta Paulus, member of the Committee on Environment and substitute member of the Committee on Industry, comments:
“The European Green Deal must not be misused as a cash injection for ailing nuclear power plants, but must set the course for a sustainable and secure future for generations to come. The climate crisis demands action as quickly as possible. Even if nuclear power were safe, with construction times of more than 10 years for new power plants, it would come far too late for significant emission reductions.
It is intolerable that some member states want to classify nuclear power as sustainable. However, it gets even more cynical when hydrogen from nuclear power is to be sold as “green.” The danger from nuclear power plants grows with the age of the reactors, uranium mining contaminates whole swaths of land, and we still do not know where we will dump our nuclear waste. Every penny for nuclear power is one penny less for truly sustainable technologies.”