A group of seven European leaders including Romanian prime minister Florin Cîțu, fronted by French President Emmanuel Macron, called on the European Commission to stop hindering nuclear power and consider ways of bringing atomic energy into the EU’s green finance rule book.
In a letter addressed to the EU executive, the seven leaders openly declared their support for nuclear power in meeting the EU’s climate goals.
“We are convinced that all available zero and low-emission technologies that contribute to climate neutrality … should not only be recognised but also actively supported by the European Union,” the signatories wrote, according to Euractiv.com.
“This is especially valid for nuclear power, whose development is one of the primary objectives of the Treaty establishing the Euratom Community, obliging EU institutions to promote it,” said the letter dated 19 March.
Signatories include the leaders of the Czech Republic (Andrej Babiš), France (Emmanuel Macron), Hungary (Viktor Orban), Poland (Mateusz Morawieck), Romania (Florin Cîțu), Slovakia (Igor Matovič), and Slovenia (Janez Janša).
Austria and Germany are opposed to nuclear power, pointing to the environmental risks posed by radioactive waste.
Nuclear is also in principle excluded from the EU’s green finance taxonomy because of the ‘Do no Significant Harm’ criteria, which bars technologies from receiving a green investment label if they undermine environmental objectives like pollution prevention and control.
But the letter argues that opting for nuclear is a decision that every EU country is free to make, “in mutual respect and regardless of policy choices of other member states.”
Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Bulgaria are planning to build new nuclear reactors to decrease their reliance on coal and meet the EU’s climate goals. France, for its part, has launched an ambitious programme to replace some of its ageing nuclear plants with a new generation of pressurised water reactors, called EPR. Finland and Britain also have EPRs under construction but the costs have soared amid delays and safety issues.