EU revolt: 12 countries break ranks in ‘extraordinary’ demands over Russian energy crisis | Science | News

It reportedly came during an “extraordinary” meeting of the EU’s Energy Council in Luxembourg amid rising energy prices. The group of rebels have heaped pressure on the European Commission to grant nuclear energy as a “green” source under the EU’s sustainable finance taxonomy. A proposal from the European Commission is now expected “by the end of the year,” according to Kadri Simson, the EU’s energy commissioner.

Nuclear energy is often seen as a “clean” alternative because it does not produce carbon dioxide – a hazardous greenhouse gas.

But it is incredibly expensive and also comes with its own set of hazards.

The UK’s new Hinkley Point C reactor could cost over £25billion by the time it’s finished.

Many believe the money would be better spent on truly “clean” alternatives.

But Finnish energy minister Mika Lintila said: “Nuclear energy is part of the solution to climate neutrality. Therefore, for us, taxonomy and nuclear is an important issue.”

Earlier this month, a group of ministers from ten EU countries signed a joint opinion article saying “nuclear power must be part of the solution” to the climate crisis and included in the taxonomy.

The article was signed by the economy and energy ministers from Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Finland, France, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

At this week’s ministerial meeting, the Netherlands offered their support while Sweden also spoke favourably about nuclear.

Dutch minister Stef Blok said: “The Netherlands further supports a swift conclusion of the delegated acts on the taxonomy, taking nuclear energy into consideration.

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“The context of this act should be science-based to ensure that there will be long term credibility.”

Swedish energy minister Anders Ygeman added: “Sweden believes that we will need all cost-effective fossil-free solutions, including bioenergy and nuclear, that contribute to the EU’s climate targets and to cut our dependency on fossil fuels.”

The group is a collection of historical advocates and recent converts to nuclear.

Jessica Johnson from Foratom, the industry body for nuclear energy, said: “What has been very interesting is how the debate has shifted over the last few weeks.

“First of all, I think it’s because we have more and more member states recognising that, in order to achieve the decarbonisation goals, we need nuclear in the mix.

“That shift is partly to do with the fact that some member states are now changing their opinion on nuclear and this has been happening over the last year or so.

“But also [because of] the recent energy crisis, I think more and more people are starting to recognise the risk of depending on imports.”

It comes following a global spike in energy prices.

Europe has felt the worst of the impacts though, particularly following a reliance on Russian gas.

Vladimir Putin has played with the bloc, reportedly turning their supplies on and off at his convenience.

Among the countries pushing for the inclusion of nuclear energy in the taxonomy is a smaller faction that is also pushing for fossil gas to be included as a transitional fuel.

This group is made up of central and eastern European countries – Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia – which argue they need gas in order to ditch more-polluting coal.

dam Guibourgé-Czetwertyński, the Polish minister for climate and environment, said: “We also need to create a positive investment climate for all technologies necessary for transition to a low-carbon secure energy system.

“The Commission should immediately present a complimentary taxonomy delegated act covering both natural gas and nuclear energy in order to alleviate the uncertainty for investors.”

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