Foratom proposes changes to Taxonomy CDA

12 January 2022

European nuclear trade body Foratom has welcomed the decision of the European Commission to include nuclear within the sustainable finance taxonomy under certain conditions. However, it has provided the Commission with some suggestions for improvement, based on analysis of the leaked draft Complementary Delegated Act (CDA).

The European Commission has extended the deadline for feedback. (Image: EC)

The Commission began consultations on 31 December with the Member States Expert Group on Sustainable Finance and the Sustainable Finance Platform on a draft text of a Taxonomy CDA covering certain gas and nuclear activities. This document was subsequently leaked and published by the media.

"We recognise that the European Commission has been under significant pressure in relation to the taxonomy and the status of nuclear," said Foratom Director General Yves Desbazeille.

"In this respect, we are pleased that a proposal is now on the table and that it does take into consideration some of the recommendations put forward by the Joint Research Centre."

"Given that nuclear is already recognised as contributing to climate mitigation objectives and does not cause significant harm, it should be treated in the same way as, for example, renewables," Foratom told the Commission following an in-depth assessment of the leaked text.

The draft text calls for a plan to be in place for a high-level waste and used fuel disposal facility to be operational by 2050. Foratom said the deadline for an operational repository should be linked to the date when it will be needed, rather than a fixed deadline of 2050.

A further requirement stipulates that new projects must use accident-tolerant fuel. This requirement should only come into effect once such fuels are available on the market, Foratom told the Commission.

The assessment of nuclear projects should be in full compliance of existing legislation and in accordance with Article 41 of the Euratom Treaty, it said. EU investments in nuclear projects outside the EU should also be considered as taxonomy compliant.

Foratom suggests the nuclear fuel cycle should be included as an enabling activity and that the taxonomy should also cover the production of heat and hydrogen from existing nuclear plants and advanced technologies.

It also called for more flexibility, and certainty, to be granted to research and innovation in the nuclear field. In addition, in line with the principle of technology neutrality, nuclear investments should not be subject to separate disclosure requirements.

"We recognise that this issue remains a very complex one at political level," Desbazeille said. "Nevertheless, we do believe that the issues listed above should be tackled in order to ensure that the principle of technology neutrality as enshrined in the Taxonomy Regulation is respected."

The Platform on Sustainable Finance and the Member States Expert Group on Sustainable Finance was originally to have until 12 January to provide their contributions. However, on Monday, the Commission announced that the deadline for feedback had been extended until 21 January.

The Commission will analyse these contributions and formally adopt the Complementary Delegated Act. It will then be sent to the co-legislators for their consideration. The European Parliament and the Council will have four months to examine the document. In line with the Taxonomy Regulation, both institutions may request an additional two months of scrutiny time.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News