Brussels (Brussels Morning) A group of seven EU member states have warned the European Commission against sidelining nuclear power in the bloc’s green transition, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
A letter to the EC, signed by the President of France and the Prime Ministers of Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, was delivered as Brussels prepares its classification of projects in order divert more capital towards green investments.
The Commission has yet to decide whether the new rules should classify nuclear power projects as sustainable.
Infringement of member state rights
“We are highly concerned that the member states’ right to choose between different energy sources and the right to determine the general structure of the energy supply is currently heavily limited by EU policy making, which excludes nuclear power from more and more policies”, the letter warns.
The member states pointed out that EU’s research funding covers nuclear technologies, and warned that pending classification of projects could stifle development as well as marginalise near-term projects.
While the bloc agreed to lower greenhouse emissions 55% compared to 1990 levels by 2030, which the EC says will require additional investments of 350 billion euro per year in the energy sector, member states disagree about how to proceed with regard to nuclear power.
Approximately 13% of power in the EU is produced in nuclear power plants, with proponents citing its low CO2 emissions while opponents express concerns about nuclear waste and delays to recent projects.
Currently, nuclear power accounts for approximately 70% of power generation in France, followed by Slovakia with 48%. Meanwhile, Poland is turning to nuclear as part of its plan to phase out coal.
EC says it is neutral
Earlier this month, Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President of the EC for the European Green Deal, indicated that as far as the EC was concerned, “we have a neutral position”. His recommendation was that EU member states should compare the costs and benefits of nuclear and renewables when it comes to considering new projects.