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The Dukovany Nuclear Power Station in Czech Republic

EU Commission defines nuclear and gas energy as ‘transitional’

EU Commission defines nuclear and gas energy as ‘transitional’

EU executive confident that these sources can serve as bridges to a sustainable future

On 2 February, the European Commission presented the Taxonomy Complementary Climate Delegated Act – a legislative proposal that basically declares that nuclear and gas should be labelled as transitional sources of energy.

They can, thus, be included in the EU Taxonomy guide. The latter is a system that lets potential investors know whether the investments they are making are in line with the Green Deal objectives of the bloc.

The EU needs the support of the private sector to reach the 2050 horizon

Given the ongoing controversy and debates that have taken over the economic-political spheres in Europe in recent months, the Commission has stopped short of naming nuclear and gas energy as ‘sustainable’ opting instead for the term ‘transitional’

The objective is to step up the transition, by drawing on all possible solutions to help us reach our climate goals. Taking account of scientific advice and current technological progress, the Commission considers that there is a role for private investment in gas and nuclear activities in the transition.

More specifically, the Complementary Climate Delegated Act, serving as an addition to the Climate Delegated Act (which entered into force in January 2022), does two things:

  • It introduces additional economic activities from the energy sector into the EU Taxonomy. That refers to certain nuclear and gas economic activities, which have now been added to the list of economic areas where investment is encouraged. To be eligible the gas and nuclear operations must contribute to the transition to climate neutrality. For nuclear, they must fulfil nuclear and environmental safety requirements; and for gas, they must contribute to the transition from coal to renewables.
  • It introduces specific disclosure requirements for businesses related to their activities in the gas and nuclear energy sectors. To ensure transparency, the Commission has today amended the Taxonomy Disclosures Delegated Act, so that investors can identify which investment opportunities include gas or nuclear activities and make informed choices.

What follows next?

The text of the Complimentary Act follows expert consultations with the Member States Expert Group on Sustainable Finance, and the Platform on Sustainable Finance. The Commission has also listened to feedback from the European Parliament on the matter. The Commission has carefully examined the input received from those groups and took it into consideration in the text presented today.

Once the legislative document has been translated to all the official languages of the Union, the European Parliament and the Council will have their chance to study it. These institutions can then object to any part of the proposal in the next four months, plus they can ask for additional two months for scrutiny.

Objections, expectedly, have already been raised by governments of the Member States which are opposing the idea of nuclear energy being labelled as green. The argument there is that not enough has been done to ensure that storage and disposal of nuclear waste can be done safely for future generations.

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