Two expert groups, tasked by the European Commission (EC) to assess the role of nuclear energy in the green finance taxonomy, published their reports on 2 July. Following the political agreement on the Taxonomy Regulation between co-legislators, in 2020 the EC launched in-depth work to assess whether or not to include nuclear energy in the EU taxonomy of environmentally sustainable activities. As the first step, the EC’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) drafted a technical report on the ‘do no significant harm’ (DNSH) aspects of nuclear energy. This comprehensive 397-page report concluded that there was no science-based evidence that nuclear energy does more harm to human health or to the environment than other electricity production technologies already included in the taxonomy and that the impacts of nuclear energy are mostly comparable with hydropower and the renewables, with regard to non-radiological effects. This report has now been reviewed by two sets of experts, the Group of Experts on radiation protection and waste management under Article 31 of the Euratom Treaty, as well as the Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) on environmental impacts. The 18-page report from the Article 31 Group of Experts on radiation protection, was adopted on 28 June. It generally confirms the findings of the JRC report related to the protection of humans against radiation, deep geological repositories as means to handle fuel waste, and nuclear’s compliance with various regulatory frameworks established by the EU. The 16-page SCHEER report, adopted on 29 June, generally confirmed the conclusions of the JRC, but also said “there are several findings where the report is incomplete and requires to be enhanced with further evidence”. SCHEER said the findings and recommendations of the JRC report with respect of non-radiological impacts “are in the main comprehensive”, but “there are several findings where the report is incomplete and requires to be enhanced with further evidence”.
Nuclear Engineering International 6th July 2021 read more »
The EU will invest €300 million in nuclear energy research in 2021 as part of Euratom, the EU’s five-year €1.38 billion programme, with a third of the funding this year – €102 million – going to push forward nuclear fusion. Only around a fifth of the Euratom budget will go into fission research, leaving nuclear lobbies unhappy. “We are of course disappointed to see the low levels of funds being granted to fission R&D,” said the FORATOM trade association for nuclear energy. “This is due to the majority of the funds now being allocated to fusion.” In the next five years, there is €583 million for fusion research and development, compared to €266 million for nuclear fission, safety and radiation protection. The balance of €532 million is for research in the Commission’s in-house science hub, the Joint Research Centre.
Science Business 6th July 2021 read more »