Belgium to shut down its nuclear reactors by 2025
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Vienna is gearing up to fight the proposed decision that classifies nuclear energy and natural gas as “green” energy sources. The Commission argues that natural gas and nuclear power is a key component in helping lower-income countries transition to cleaner power like solar and offshore wind energy. The proposal says: “It is necessary to recognise that the fossil gas and nuclear energy sectors can contribute to the decarbonisation of the Union’s economy.”
The Commission argues that natural gas and nuclear power is vital in helping lower-income countries transition to cleaner power like solar and offshore wind energy.
The Commission has not finalised the classification yet and is still is consulting with member states and European lawmakers until Friday on its plans.
Speaking to AFP, Austria’s environment Minister Leonore Gewessler warned the EU, saying: “Neither of these two forms of energy is sustainable and therefore has no place in the taxonomy regulation.
“If the Commission continues to work with this proposal and implements it then it is clear that we will take legal action.”
Ms Gewessler warned that they had “very, very strong arguments” on why energy from nuclear power and natural gas should not be labelled as green.
She also said that she had “great confidence” that a complaint at the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) could succeed.
She said: “The question of waste disposal (from nuclear energy) has not been solved for decades.
“It’s as if we give our children a backpack and say ‘you will solve it one day.’”
In a previous interview with EURACTIV, Ms Gewessler said that if “the EU taxonomy includes nuclear energy, we are ready to challenge that in court.”
The EU taxonomy for sustainable activities is a system of classification that is established to determine which investments are environmentally sustainable.
This system was created in the wake of the European Green Deal in July 2020 and was made to help prevent “greenwashing” among different investments.
Austria has been lobbying other EU member states, including Germany, to reject the Commission’s proposal.
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According to Ms Gewessler, Luxemburg has indicated it would support a legal complaint.
She said: “Whatever is labelled green, whatever is labelled sustainable must also actually contain green and sustainable investments.
She also added that renewable energy was “cheaper, more readily available and a safer and better alternative to nuclear energy”.
The EU is split on the inclusion of these two energy sources to the taxonomy, with France leading a group of twelve countries that support the inclusion of nuclear energy as a part of a green taxonomy.
France relies heavily on nuclear energy, as it generates 70 percent of its electricity.
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