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Germany and France clash over ‘green’ nuclear energy

The EU Commission’s proposal to classify nuclear power and natural gas plants as “green” investments has become a sticking point between Germany and France.

An EU proposal to classify new nuclear power and natural gas investments as “green” has provoked a clash between Paris and Berlin. 

The proposal aims to support the 27-nation bloc’s shift towards a carbon-neutral future and build its credentials as a global standard-setter for fighting climate change.

The plans would have a huge impact on nuclear-powered economies like France and on Germany’s gas-fueled power plants since they might have to fundamentally change their strategies.

The EU Commission wants to label natural gas and nuclear power as climate-friendly under certain conditions, and include investments into both on its long-awaited taxonomy list. 

The taxonomy list is a classification system that determines whether economic activities in an energy sector are environmentally sustainable or not.

According to the draft proposal by the EU Commission, investment in new nuclear plants can be considered “sustainable” if the disposal for high-level radioactive waste is guaranteed to be carried out safely under the specified technology standards. 

To be deemed green, new nuclear plants must receive construction permits before 2045.

France, Europe’s biggest producer of nuclear power, has supported the plans to consider nuclear energy “climate friendly” and asked for nuclear power to be included in the“taxonomy” by the end of the year.

French Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune said the proposal is good on a technical level and insisted that the bloc “cannot become carbon neutral by 2050 without nuclear energy.”

However, Germany is heading the other way.

The German government welcomes the plans to make natural gas energy sustainable, but strongly rejects the proposal for nuclear energy.

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