EU Lawmakers Seek to Classify Nuclear Investment as Green

More than 80 lawmakers have called on the European Union’s executive branch to include nuclear energy in its classification system for green investment, in order to help the bloc meet its ambitious climate neutrality goal.

“We cannot afford to ignore any energy sources that have the prerequisites to make a positive contribution on the path towards climate neutrality,” the members of the European Parliament wrote in a letter to the European Commission. “That nuclear power is such a kind of energy source is, to us, obvious.”

The EU wants to become the world’s first region to reach net-zero emissions by the middle of the century under the Green Deal, an unprecedented overhaul that aims to make every corner of the economy cleaner. In the coming months, the commission is planning to propose how to classify atomic energy and natural gas in its taxonomy rules, after delaying the decision earlier this year.

The criteria are crucial because they have the potential to unlock billions of euros for green projects. The challenge is to ensure the system gets political and social support while avoiding the risk of greenwashing, or overstating the significance of emissions reductions.

Countries that don’t have nuclear power -- or are phasing it out -- will try to persuade the EU to oppose a green label for this source of energy, according to the lawmakers led by Sara Skyttedal, a Swedish Christian Democrat. They urged the commission to avoid these calls.

Two technical reports by published by the commission last week offer further evidence that existing rules on nuclear energy provide adequate protection for public health and the environment, according to the lawmakers. Member states that invest in nuclear installations “should not be met with resistance, but encouragement, from the EU,” they said.

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