EU Commission ready to include nuclear, gas in green taxonomy – with conditions
The European Commission has set down parameters for the inclusion of nuclear power and gas-fired power stations in the EU taxonomy, which classifies power generation sectors in terms of their contribution to sustainable development.

The requirements are contained in documents appended to the Complementary Climate Delegated Act, published on 2nd February.

    Emissions from gas-fired stations receiving permission for construction in the period up to the end of 2030 cannot exceed 270 grams of CO2 equivalent per 1 kilowatt hour (KWh) of electricity – but only on condition that their operation will lead to the replacement of more carbon-intensive energy sources. And those stations, by the end of 2035, will have to transition to renewable or low-carbon energy.

    For all similar gas-fired power stations, even lower emissions thresholds have been established – 100 g of Co2 per 1 KW h of production.

    Demands imposed on nuclear power stations in general concern safety standards.  Countries using nuclear power must also possess the infrastructure for storing very low-level radioactive waste as well as low-level waste and intermediate-level nuclear waste. The document does not ban the transport of nuclear waste within the EU, provided there is an agreement between country providing the waste and the country agreeing to store it.

    The Commission’s proposals will be submitted to scrutiny by Commissioners from member countries (the EU Council delegated power to the Commission to adopt the act) and to the European Parliament. The document can be rejected only if 20 of 27 member states in the Council representing 65 % of the EU’s population reject it or if European Parliament members reject it by a simple majority.

     Objections to the inclusion of nuclear power in the taxonomy list may come from Germany, which closed three of its six operating nuclear reactors last year, and Austria, which barred the operation of nuclear plants on its territory by virtue of a 1978 referendum.

    But any opposition will probably be offset by support from 10 member states (Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) which last October appealed to the European Commission to declare nuclear power “clean”.

    Opposition to the inclusion of gas-fired power generation may come from Denmark, which has refused since 2021 to issue permits for exploration and production of hydrocarbons in the North Sea, and the Netherlands, where, by 2030, 1.5 million out of 7 million homes will be transferred over to renewable sources of energy.


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February 2022