27 Apr 2021, 13:45
Charlotte Nijhuis

France, Germany at odds over role of nuclear in EU sustainable taxonomy

Clean Energy Wire / Hamburger Abendblatt

French and German government  ministers are in a dispute about the role of nuclear power in the EU’s quest for climate neutrality. On Monday, France’s minister of economy Bruno Le Maire told the Funke Mediengruppe that Europe would “not achieve CO2 neutrality by 2050 without nuclear power.” In response, German federal environment minister Svenja Schulze said that “a form of energy that imposes permanently immense costs and dangers on future generations cannot be sustainable.” The German minister argues that nuclear power should not be classified as a sustainable investment in the EU taxonomy, the details of which are currently being discussed in the European Commission. France and six eastern European EU member states, including Poland and the Czech Republic, want new nuclear power plants to be classified as sustainable and eligible for funding. “We are on track to ensure that nuclear is recognised as a CO2-free energy eligible for green financing in Europe," Le Maire said, while acknowledging that the dispute is "intense."

Former German environment minister Jürgen Trittin vehemently opposes France’s stance, saying the country is “on a dangerous wrong track.” Trittin argues nuclear energy has no future “because no one wants to invest in a non-competitive high-risk technology for a long time to come," the Green politician told the Hamburger Abendblatt.

The dispute comes 35 years after the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, which fuelled public opposition to nuclear power in Germany. The country is set to switch off its last reactor in 2022 and is trying to find a place to store radioactive waste.

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