Region, EU member states, have urged the European Commission to recognize nuclear power as a low-carbon energy source

, SEE Energy News

Ten EU member states, led by France, have urged the European Commission (EC) to recognize nuclear power as a low-carbon energy source that should be part of the EU’s transition towards climate neutrality.

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 EC with the signature of nine other EU member states, most of which already count nuclear as part of their national energy mix: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania.

According to the letter, the rise of energy prices have also shown how important is it to reduce our energy dependence on third countries as fast as possible. Over 90 % of the EU’s natural gas come from foreign importers, with Russia as the main producer. This great dependency has been credited as one of the main factors behind the rise in energy prices.

Nuclear power plants generate over 26 % of the electricity produced in the European Union.

The signatories urge the EC to include nuclear energy inside the EU green taxonomy, a technical guidebook that helps governments and investors to identify which projects respect the Paris Agreement and which ones are in breach of its climate goals.

Activities that fall under the taxonomy have to make a substantial contribution to at least one environmental objective of the EU’s climate policy while avoiding significant harm to any of the others. Moreover, taxonomy-aligned projects have to comply with a minimum set of social safeguards.

The EC has already classified a vast catalogue of sectors under the guidebook, such as solar energy, geothermal, hydrogen, wind power, hydropower and bioenergy. But when Brussels introduced the taxonomy back in April, one sector was conspicuous by absence: nuclear energy.

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 EC has postponed the crucial decision to let countries conclude the debate.

Germany, which plans to shut down all its reactors by the end of 2022, is leading the anti-nuclear cause, together with Austria, Denmark, Luxembourg and Spain.