‘Cloak-and-dagger operation’ Austria threatens to sue EU over nuclear energy

Belgium to shut down its nuclear reactors by 2025

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According to Austrian Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler, the country would have no choice but to take the European Commission to court if it went ahead with its leaked plans to include nuclear energy in the EU taxonomy rules on sustainable finance The Commission argues that natural gas and nuclear power is a key component in helping lower-income countries transition to cleaner power like solar and offshore wind energy.

The proposal says: “It is necessary to recognise that the fossil gas and nuclear energy sectors can contribute to the decarbonisation of the Union’s economy,”

The Commission argues that natural gas and nuclear power is a key component in helping lower-income countries transition to cleaner power like solar and offshore wind energy.

Ms Gewessler described the plans as “cloak and dagger” operation and accused the green financing list of being “harmful to the environment and destroy the future of our children”.

On Twitter, she said: “We will closely examine the current draft and have already ordered a legal opinion over nuclear energy in the taxonomy.

“If these plans were to be implemented this way, we will sue.”

In a previous interview with EURACTIV, Ms Gewessler said that if “the EU taxonomy includes nuclear energy, we are ready to challenge that in court.”

The EU taxonomy for sustainable activities is a system of classification that is established to determine which investments are environmentally sustainable.

This system was created in the wake of the European Green Deal in July 2020 and was made to help prevent “greenwashing” among different investments.

According to Reuters, the draft of the proposal would label nuclear power plant investments as green if the project has a plan, funds and a site to safely dispose of radioactive waste.

To be considered green, new nuclear plants must acquire construction permits before 2045.

The Commission would also place restrictions on gas plants, including keeping a limit of how much carbon dioxide is released per kilowatt-hour of energy produced.

For a while, the decision on including nuclear to this list has been a contentious one, with a number of European countries vehemently opposing the classification of nuclear as “green”.

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France is leading a group of twelve countries that support the inclusion of nuclear energy as a part of a green taxonomy.

France relies heavily on nuclear energy, as it generates 70 percent of its electricity. However, it aims to reduce this by half over the next 15 years.

France has also pledged to reduce its dependency on nuclear power by shutting down 12 nuclear reactors by 2035.

On the other side, five EU countries staunchly oppose these possible decisions, including Austria.

Meanwhile, Germany, which is heavily reliant on imported gas, particularly from Russia, has been pushing for gas to be considered a green investment as it is often a transition energy source between coal and other renewable energy sources.

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