Australian news, and some related international items

Greenpeace warns European Commission on nuclear energy classification

Greenpeace warns European Commission on nuclear energy classification

Move follows scientific expert group’s conclusion that ‘the fuel qualifies as sustainable’ under green investments, Irish Times, 5 Apr 21,

Kevin O’Sullivan
 Environment & Science Editor,   Greenpeace Europe has warned the European Commission against reinstating nuclear power on the list of activities deemed sustainable by the European Union.

The call was made after the commission’s scientific expert group, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), was reported to have concluded “the fuel qualifies as sustainable” under green investments – notably in the context of making Europe net-zero in terms of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Greenpeace EU policy adviser Silvia Pastorelli said: “It’s become more and more clear that the nuclear industry cannot stand on its feet without massive funding and that is why they’re desperate for EU support, as nuclear power is too expensive and new projects are evaporating.”

In its report, the JRC “is dangerously optimistic about the renovation of operating nuclear power plants. Independent scientists have already told the EU that the unsustainable environmental hazard of nuclear waste is enough reason to drop the technology”, she said.

“Rather than let a dying industry swallow up vital funding, the European Commission should back real climate action, excluding all fake green ‘solutions’ like nuclear, gas and biomass,” Ms Pastorelli suggested.

In March 2020, the Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance established by the commission recommended excluding nuclear power from “the green taxonomy”; a European classification of low-carbon and transitional economic activities designed to guide investment.

Greenpeace noted, however, that after intense lobbying by pro-nuclear stakeholders, the commission asked the JRC to assess “the absence of significant environmental harm of nuclear power”, which it claimed is paving the way to the sector’s reinstatement on the list of activities deemed sustainable by the EU.

According to the environmental NGO, however, the JRC’s structural links with the Euratom treaty, its relations with the nuclear industry and the views expressed publicly by its members on nuclear energy “call into question the JRC’s ability to conduct an objective assessment of the sustainability of nuclear energy”.

The commission should have entrusted this study to an impartial structure and included civil society, it insisted. Two expert committees will scrutinise the JRC’s findings – which were leaked to Reuters – for three months before the commission takes a final decision.

Harm assessment

Achieving climate-neutrality requires compensating by 2050 not only any remaining CO2 but also any other GHG emissions, as set out in its “A Clean Planet for All” strategy, and confirmed by the European green deal.

To facilitate this, establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment that provides appropriate definitions to companies and investors on which economic activities can be considered environmentally sustainable is required.

Given its extensive technical expertise on nuclear energy and technology, the JRC was asked to conduct this analysis and to draft a technical assessment report on the “do no significant harm” aspects of nuclear energy including long-term management of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel…….

Brussels’ expert advisers last year were split over whether nuclear power deserved a green label, recognising that while it produces very low planet-warming emissions, more analysis was needed on the environmental impact of radioactive waste disposal………

EU countries are split over nuclear. France, Hungary and five other countries last month urged the commission to support nuclear in policies including the taxonomy. Other states including Austria, and some environmental groups, oppose the fuel, pointing to its hazardous waste and the delays and spiralling costs of recent projects.

“The nuclear industry is desperate for funds as nuclear power is too expensive and new projects are evaporating,” the Greenpeace adviser Silvia Pastorelli underlined……

April 6, 2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: