Nuclear Politics

Europe / Ireland’s Commissioner ‘Moving Closer’ To Calling For Nuclear In Taxonomy

By David Dalton
3 November 2021

Ireland’s Commissioner ‘Moving Closer’ To Calling For Nuclear In Taxonomy
Ireland’s European commissioner Maireád McGuinness is moving closer to classifying nuclear energy and gas as having a role to play in the transition to climate neutrality as an energy price crisis consumes the European Union, the Irish Times reported.

The European commission is preparing to release the second part of its so-called sustainable finance taxonomy, which determines what activities are eligible for funding by green bonds, and therefore billions of euro in budget and Covid-19 stimulus cash directed towards the EU’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.

France and a number of other member states have lobbied intensely for nuclear energy to be classified as green, but the inclusion of nuclear has been resisted by other countries, including Italy and Germany, which has almost completed a planned phaseout of its nuclear plants begun in response to the 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident.

“Member states will travel on different paths in order to reach the goal of climate neutrality by 2050,” Ms McGuinness said in a statement to The Irish Times. She added that €350bn in additional investment would be needed annually to reach the EU’s aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55 per cent by 2030.

“The taxonomy can be a useful tool to help direct investment towards more sustainable energy investments,” she said.

European commission president Ursula von der Leyen said recently that the EU needs nuclear power and gas as stable sources of energy while it manages the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Her comments came following a summit of the bloc’s 27 member states after which French president Emmanuel Macron also spoke on the nuclear issue, saying, “never before has such clear and broad support been expressed for the need to use nuclear energy to achieve our climate goals”.

Mr Macron recently announced that by 2030 France, which generates a bigger share of its electricity from nuclear than any other country, must be a leader in carbon-free power production with one small modular reactor in operation and nuclear plants used to produce clean hydrogen through electrolysis.

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