Nuclear energy can move forward to supported sources
The nuclear industry on 29.3.2021 called on the European Commission to expedite the inclusion of nuclear energy in the EU Taxonomy on Sustainable Finance, following a comprehensive assessment that nuclear energy does no more harm to human health or the environment than any other power-producing technology considered to be sustainable. The report, which is marked ‘sensitive’, was leaked to the Press last week, but it isn’t clear whether this is the final version of it.
The assessment was conducted by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), whose mission is to support EU policies with independent evidence throughout the whole policy cycle.
The JRC conducted a review to assess nuclear energy generation under the ‘do no significant harm’ (DNSH) criteria, considering the effects of the whole nuclear energy lifecycle in terms of existing and potential environmental impacts across all objectives, with emphasis on the management of the generated nuclear and radioactive waste.
“The analyses did not reveal any science-based evidence that nuclear energy does more harm to human health or to the environment than other electricity production technologies already included in the Taxonomy as activities supporting climate change mitigation,” the JRC says in the report.
“The comparison of impacts of various electricity generation technologies (e.g. oil, gas, renewables and nuclear energy) on human health and the environment, based on recent Life Cycle Analyses, shows that the impacts of nuclear energy are mostly comparable with hydropower and the renewables, with regard to non-radiological effects,” it adds.
In response to the JRC’s assessment of nuclear, Foratom, the European nuclear trade organisation, said that the European Commission should move ahead with the inclusion of nuclear under the Sustainable Finance Taxonomy and the Ecolabel for Retail Financial Products.
Nuclear energy is the largest (26.7% in 2019) single source of low-carbon energy in the EU, ahead of hydro (12.3%), wind (13.3%), solar (4.4%) and other (0.5%).