The European Union has prepared a project which would allow, under certain conditions, the construction of new nuclear reactors or gas power stations, which would thus be eligible for sustainable funding.
A green light from Brussels for nuclear power? In any case, the European Union has prepared a project aimed at qualifying certain natural gas and nuclear energy projects as “green” investments, after a year of battle between governments to determine which investments are really environmentally friendly. .
The European executive had in fact been called on by the member states to decide on the question of whether to include gas and nuclear power in the list of energies potentially virtuous for the environment. A so-called “taxonomy” project, which opposes Paris and Berlin (with a pro-nuclear France and an anti-Germany, to sum up) which would therefore allow, under specific conditions, the construction of new nuclear reactors or gas power stations, which would be thus eligible for sustainable funding, these investments which aim to achieve the ambition of carbon neutrality by 2050 that the EU has set itself.
A proposal for a European taxonomy that the Commission therefore unveiled on December 31 and which thus provides, among other criteria, that to be considered “green”, new nuclear power stations must receive a building permit before 2045. Natural gas power stations They will have to receive a building permit before the end of 2030.
Changes still possible
Consultations on the project between the European Commission and experts from EU countries began on Friday, the Commission statement said on December 31.
Member States and a group of experts will thus be able to examine the draft proposal, which could be amended before its presentation in January. And this while certain defenders of the environment have already criticized the proposal, and that Germany has already made known its opposition.
The atom and the fossil gas are thus chosen in particular for their low carbon emissions. “Natural gas and nuclear power have a role to play in facilitating the transition to a future essentially based on renewable energies,” the Commission said on 31 December.
To allow Member States whose energy context varies greatly from one country to another to commit to an energy transition, “under certain conditions, solutions which do not seem exactly ‘green’ at first glance may be judicious” , further told Reuters a source within the Commission.
Anthony Cellier: “We made the choice of the mix”
A positioning that completely satisfies France (which has 56 nuclear reactors in service), which aims to relaunch its nuclear industry, as Emmanuel Macron recently affirmed. “The text corresponds to what we wanted” confirmed, this Monday, in Les Echos, Clément Beaune, the Secretary of State for European Affairs.
“This text had been discussed for many months, and defended in particular by Emmanuel Macron, Bruno Le Maire and Agnès Pannier-Runacher. The ambition is to demonstrate that nuclear power contributes to the objective of decarbonizing our industries and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. The challenge is to be able to make new investments in the nuclear fleet. This is a very good thing for France: for climate issues, and for our nuclear industry “said Anthony Cellier on Monday, LREM deputy of Gard, and president of the Higher Energy Council since 2019.
According to whom “we want to limit our dependence on fossil fuels and on geopolitical interests, as we can see with Russia and gas at the moment. The choice of the President of the Republic is that of our energy dependence, while maintaining our climate objectives are the choice of the mix, that of nuclear and renewable energies “.