MEPs call on EC to recognise nuclear as sustainable

09 July 2021

Nearly 100 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have called on the European Commission "to follow the science" and include nuclear under the EU's Sustainable Finance Taxonomy. According to a letter sent to Commissioners and published by European nuclear trade body Foratom, the MEPs urge them "to choose the path that their scientific experts have now advised them to take", namely to include nuclear power in the EU's Taxonomy on Sustainable Finance.

Swedish MEP Sara Skyttedal is one of the signatories to the letter (Image: Twitter)

"The EU has just 30 years to decarbonise its economy in a sustainable way," said Yves Desbazeille, Foratom director general. "Member States who wish to invest in low-carbon nuclear should not be prevented from doing so just because others are politically opposed to nuclear," he added.

In the letter, MEPs draw attention to the fact that the scientific assessment of nuclear concludes that "the existing legal framework provides adequate protection in terms of public health and the environment", which Foratom says means nuclear complies with the requirements of the Taxonomy. It therefore asks the Commission "to take this scientific work seriously and not to discriminate against nuclear".

The full text of the letter is:

"We, the undersigned members of the European parliament, acknowledge the hard work that the Commission has put into completing the first delegated act of the Taxonomy Regulation. The European Union has committed itself to becoming climate neutral by the middle of the century. This requires great efforts from the Member States as well as the EU as a whole. No effort can be spared in this important work, neither from the EU nor from the Member States. The taxonomy regulation has the potential to be a decisive tool in this regard.

"We cannot afford to ignore any energy sources that have the prerequisites to make a positive contribution on the path towards climate neutrality. That nuclear power is such a kind of energy source is, to us, obvious. Therefore, those member states that for this reason choose to invest and wish to mobilize private capital towards nuclear installations should not be met with resistance, but encouragement, from the EU. We are very pleased to see three different expert reports from the Commission that points in a similar conclusion. Not the least the Commissions Joint Research Centre (JRC) report “Technical assessment of nuclear energy with respect to the ‘do no significant harm’ criteria of Regulation (EU) 2020/852”, published this March. Last week the results of two scientific boards - Article 31 report and the SCHEER report - were published by the Commission. Reports that mostly confirms the findings in the JRC report, that the existing legal framework provides adequate protection in terms of public health and the environment.

"We welcome the findings of the JRC and the two scientific boards, which specific environmental aspects where assessed scientifically by a committee with expertise in environmental science, nuclear safety and safe nuclear waste disposal. This means that the scientific review acknowledges key elements of the “do no significant harm” principle. If we, and the EU as a whole, are serious about facing the climate crisis with powerful tools, then we cannot reasonably discriminate against any fossil-free technology with as much potential as nuclear power objectively has.

"There are obvious political wills from Member states without nuclear power, or with nuclear power currently being phased out, to persuade the European Commission to ignore scientific conclusions and actively oppose nuclear power. We urge the Commission to be brave enough to disregard these calls and to choose the path that their scientific experts have now advised them to take, namely to include nuclear power in the taxonomy.

"The taxonomy regulation should be guided by the desire to achieve climate neutrality and by the principle of “do no significant harm”. In the past, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has pointed out nuclear power as a key in the fight against climate change. The European Commission's expert body has now reached similar conclusions. It is our hope that the European Commission is courageous enough to create EU regulations that do not actively generate disadvantages for investments in nuclear power, or any other fossil free technology."

One of the MEPs who signed the letter, Sweden's Sara Skyttedal, posted the letter on Twitter, urging the Commission "not to create EU regulations that actively generate disadvantages for investments in nuclear power. Europe needs more, not less, nuclear energy".

Researched and written by World Nuclear News