The European Commission has mandated its in-house research body, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), to assess whether nuclear power should be considered as a “green” technology under the EU’s sustainable finance taxonomy. Should nuclear power be considered “green” because it is a low-carbon source of energy? Or does the issue of radioactive waste automatically disqualify it from the EU’s green label because of the “do no significant harm” principle? This question, seemingly simple at first, has vexed experts advising the European Commission on a sustainable finance ‘taxonomy’, which is aimed at guiding private investors looking to buy clean technology stocks. France and Britain have previously blocked an agreement on the EU’s green finance taxonomy, arguing it failed to recognise the environmental benefits of nuclear power, which emits almost no greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. The move was welcomed by Foratom, the nuclear industry association. “This shows that they have taken recommendations that nuclear be assessed by scientific experts seriously,” said Yves Desbazeille, director general at Foratom. “This is something which many stakeholders – including industry, several member states and MEPs – have been calling for over the past year,” Desbazeille said in a statement. The report by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) will itself be reviewed by experts on radiation protection and waste management under Article 31 of the Euratom Treaty, as well as by experts on environmental impacts from an equivalent Commission environmental group or committee, the Commission indicated. However, “this process is not expected to conclude before the beginning of 2021,” the Commission added, saying work in the meantime will continue on the assessment of other “green” technologies under the sustainable finance taxonomy. This is causing worries in the nuclear industry. “Foratom regrets the fact that the assessment will not be ready in time,” Desbazeille said.
Euractiv 3rd July 2020 read more »