“Nuclear power is anything but sustainable”

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“To describe nuclear power as sustainable is not scientifically sound,” says Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens). © Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa

Nuclear power and gas as sustainable forms of energy? The EU Commission has undertaken this controversial classification – the German Environment Minister takes a very clear stance.

Berlin – Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke has once again warned against classifying nuclear power plants as sustainable investments at EU level.

“Nuclear power is anything but sustainable and including it in the taxonomy is a big mistake,” said the Greens politician to the German Press Agency. The corresponding plans of the EU Commission are “absolutely wrong,” explained Lemke. “The facts are clear: nuclear power is a high-risk technology, as demonstrated by Chernobyl and Fukushima. There is no repository for highly radioactive nuclear waste anywhere in the world, and nuclear power is economically unprofitable,” she affirmed.

Contrary to the known line of the federal government, Lemke also expressed clear criticism of the planned green label for gas-fired power plants. “I am convinced that classification as sustainable in the taxonomy is not necessary for either natural gas or nuclear power,” she said.

Lemke against sustainability seal for natural gas

Even if Germany is dependent on natural gas for “a short transition period”, it does not need a sustainability seal at EU level, she explained. The federal government had previously explicitly advocated the new classification for gas-fired power plants at EU level and only clearly rejected the planned classification of nuclear power.

With the so-called taxonomy, the EU Commission wants to redefine which financial investments should be considered climate-friendly in the future. To this end, it presented a controversial draft on December 31, which stipulates that investments in new gas and nuclear power plants can be classified as sustainable under certain conditions.

The deadline for Germany and the 26 other EU countries to comment on the EU Commission’s proposal is midnight this Friday. The Commission will then present an official draft law.

The new classification is likely to come into force

Environment Minister Lemke warned against damage to the EU label as such if nuclear power were to be included in the future. “Claiming nuclear power as sustainable is not scientifically sound. In my opinion, if the classification were to come about, the taxonomy would be damaged,” said Lemke.

Since there is no majority against the new classifications at EU level, their entry into force has so far been considered likely.

According to dpa information, Germany’s statement on the EU taxonomy was not yet sent to Brussels on Thursday. It is still being coordinated between the ministries, the Ministry of the Environment said on Thursday. dpa


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