Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) A group of seven EU member states has pushed against the use of nuclear energy in the bloc’s transition towards renewables.
Ministers from Austria, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, and Spain sent a letter to Sweden, which presides over the EU, calling for the exclusion of nuclear from environmental targets, according to Reuters reporting on Thursday.
The EU is negotiating more ambitious environmental targets aimed at lowering CO2 emissions, but talks have stalled over the use of “low-carbon hydrogen” produced from nuclear energy.
“Taking into account low-carbon hydrogen and low-carbon fuels in the 2030 targets would decrease the ambition and slow down renewables deployment, which in turn would jeopardize the achievement of the climate targets,” the group predicted.
According to the group, the deployment of hydrogen and renewables will be the main tool for cutting CO2 emissions this decade, which they see as decisive in the fight against climate change.
The group concluded that “additional renewable energy capacity can be installed within short timeframes and at comparatively competitive costs.”
While nuclear power plants do not emit CO2, nuclear energy is not renewable, which is a point of contention among EU member states.
A group of nine bloc members warned last month that pushing against nuclear power slows the development of hydrogen technologies, which the EU hopes would drive the energy transition.
The group, headed by France, Poland, and the Czech Republic, stressed the importance of using nuclear energy on the path to sustainable carbon neutrality. France relies heavily on nuclear energy for power generation, where it traditionally accounts for roughly 70%.
According to an EU diplomat, some bloc members are increasingly frustrated over Germany’s push against plans to phase out internal combustion engines and France’s call for the inclusion of nuclear energy.
The diplomat pointed out that the two largest bloc members decided to push against rules that were already agreed upon, stressing that the moves “paint the picture of the big member states playing by different rules than the small ones.”
The group of bloc members noted in the letter to Sweden that they were prepared to discuss the role of nuclear energy in other EU rules, but stressed the importance of reaching environmental targets with renewables.