Germany welcomed the European Union’s plan to define some energy gas projects as “green” investments, but emphasized that it continued to oppose the proposal to do the same for nuclear energy projects.
At the end of 2021 (Friday, December 31), Germany shut down three of its last six nuclear power plants, moving towards completing its complete nuclear phase-out.
“For the German government, natural gas is an important intermediate (bridge) technology on the road to greenhouse gas neutrality amid the phasing out of nuclear energy and coal-fired power generation,” a German government spokesman said.
“However, the government’s position on nuclear energy remains unchanged. The government remains convinced that nuclear energy cannot be classified as sustainable and green,” he added.
Although nuclear energy produces very low emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the European Commission has sought expert advice on whether fuel should be considered green given the potential environmental impact of radioactive waste storage.
Over the weekend, AFP and Reuters cited a draft proposal by the European Commission that investments in nuclear power plants and those using natural gas should be treated as green investments. To be considered green, new nuclear power plants must receive building permits before 2045.
According to the same Commission project, investments in natural gas power plants will be considered green if they produce emissions below 270 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent per kilowatt-hour (kWh), replacing a more polluting fossil fuel installation, and if they obtain a building permit by 31 December 2030 and plan to switch to low-carbon gases by the end of 2035.
EU countries and a group of experts will carefully consider the draft proposal, which may change before it is published later in January.
In addition to Germany, other countries, including Austria and Luxembourg, are also opposed to nuclear energy.
EU countries, including the Czech Republic, Finland, and France, which receive about 70% of their energy from fuel, believe that nuclear energy is crucial for the phasing out of coal energy.