COP26: Five EU member states led by Germany form anti-nuclear alliance

“Nuclear power is incompatible with the EU Taxonomy Regulation’s ‘do no significant harm’ principle“, reads the Joint Declaration for a nuclear-free EU Taxonomy, signed on Thursday by Germany, Austria, Denmark, Luxembourg and Portugal.

Polish ministers call on Europe to intensify development of nuclear energy

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“The current decade will be decisive for our joint path to climate neutrality and an economic system that respects our planet’s limits,” the climate ministers of the five countries wrote, pointing out that “in this regard, it is critical that we have a credible, goal-oriented EU Taxonomy determining the degree of a business activity’s environmental sustainability over its entire life cycle.”

“We recognise the sovereign right of Member States to decide for or against nuclear power as part of their national energy systems,” they noted, making a reservation that they are concerned that “including nuclear power in the Taxonomy would permanently damage its integrity, credibility and therefore its usefulness.”

As the ministers pointed out, “many savers and investors would lose faith in financial products marketed as "sustainable" if they had to fear that by buying these products they would be financing activities in the area of nuclear power,” adding that “several renowned institutional investors have voiced their opposition to including nuclear power.”

“Nuclear power is incompatible with the EU Taxonomy Regulation’s "do no significant harm" principle,” they emphasised, urging the European Commission “not to jeopardise the courageous path it has taken towards making the EU the global lead market for sustainable finance.”

The EC is expected to present in the coming weeks a proposal clarifying the status of gas and nuclear-based energy under the EU’s green finance taxonomy - a rulebook that guides investors as to the conditions under which certain technologies can be considered ‘sustainable.’

In October, officials from Poland, France, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Hungary, Finland and Romania appealed on the development of nuclear energy in Europe in a paper published by the daily Le Figaro and other European newspapers.

“It is necessary to include nuclear energy in the green taxonomy developed by the European Commission,” they argued, adding that “we have no choice but to diversify our sources of supply, being careful not to increase our energy imports from outside Europe. Decarbonising our economy requires immediate and profound changes to our production and our consumption patterns to emit less CO2.”

Under Poland's Energy Strategy 2040, the country plans to construct six nuclear power plants. The first reactor should start working in 2033, generating some 1-1.6 GW of power. Subsequent reactors would be constructed every two to three years.