Time to reclassifiy nuclear

EU: Should nuclear power still be considered "sustainable"?
Bei diesem Beitrag handelt es sich um ein Blog aus der Freitag-Community

The EU no longer wants to classify nuclear power as sustainable. Both the EU Parliament and the Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Financing (TEG), set up by the EU Commission, have recognized that there is clear scientific, peer-reviewed evidence of the risk of significant harm to pollution and biodiversity objectives arising from the nuclear value chain.

Perhaps predictably, nuclear proponents are attempting to counter-argue, with standardised ‘protest letter’ instructions* in an attempt to try to keep substantial subsidy funding for nuclear power.

Meanwhile, serious economic and technical grievances characterize the EPR reactor construction sites in the EU in Hinkley Point C (UK), Olkiluoto (FI) Flamanville (FR) and the WWER debacle in Mochovce (SK) within the EU. These - still unsuccessful - constructions can only be sustained via significant state rescue packages, comprising many billions of euros.

Currently, the nuclear industry is attempting to rescue this uneconomic, impracticable and unsustainable mode of electricity generation via emptying the public purse. However, money that is urgently needed for real climate protection measures must not be made accessible for illusory solutions. The reality is, a complete supply of renewable energy is feasible worldwide, which, according to sets of substantive studies, can be successfully operationalised in much shorter time frames at far less cost.

Declining European nuclear power has already exceeded its production peak in 2004 and has been overtaken by renewable energy technology roll-out in 2014.

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It remains critically important that the ailing nuclear sector, left careworn and threadbare by the erosion of skills and capacity, must ensure that its dangerous legacy will be hermetically isolated from the biosphere. The reality is, there is no further financial scope for new nuclear construction, or associated infrastructure that could make any significant contributions to CO2 reduction in the forthcoming decade, ie the only one relevant to climate protection. On the contrary, all activities that would be undertaken involved in new nuclear would be associated with significant CO2-intensive construction activities.

Since the faulty hypothesis, that nuclear power can make a relevant contribution to climate protection in the near future, does not withstand a fact-checking - the question arises as to what are the driving forces that lead to the state so adequately described by Jean-Bernard Levy, CEO of the nuclear concern EdF ?: "We must continue to build nuclear power plants, in France and in Europe. If I had to use a picture to describe our situation, it would be the cyclist's who should not stop pedalling so he does not fall over. "

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In addition to the well-known corporate interests, which revolve around lucrative orders (steel, concrete, construction machinery, cooling water tunnel boring, welding work ...), an important driving force for new nuclear still succeeds in avoiding the public eye. Whoever searches for the "pedalling cyclist" in nuclear-propulsed submarines, whose range, capacities and undetectability aspire to make nuclear deterrence credible, realizes that this "marine cyclist" would tumble immediately if the nuclear civil infrastructure guarantor would not sustain his educational and supply chains. A supply industry is not viable with an inconveniently intermittent ‘drum beat’ of nuclear submarine orders. Here, cross-subsidization for the preservation of a ‘second strike’ military nuclear proliferation capability is being forwarded under the guise of climate protection, with no democratic public discussion or approval.

Scientists at the University of Sussex have verified in a comprehensive study, openly communicated by the military, but vigorously denied by the energy policy: That the maintenance of any civil nuclear program directly benefits the nuclear defence budget. That which SPRU scientists demonstrate for the UK also applies to the France – who are developing their own new Small Modular Reactor (SMR). The fact that not only the power company EdF, but also the manufacturer of nuclear propulsion systems TechnicAtome, the Civil-Military Institute CEA, and the warship and submarine builder Naval Group, are involved in this development, speaks volumes.

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Further, the narrative of the ‘nuclear waste-burning’ "new" reactor type turns out to be a fairytale. Since the beginning of civil nuclear energy use, the industry has been unable to safely dispose of its poisonous legacies. This will not change with the announcement of so-called ‘nuclear waste-burning’ reactors. The reality is that the nuclear industry has no solution for long-lived, easily mobile, air and groundwater endangering radioisotopes such as iodine 129 (half life: 15.7 million years, transmutation not possible). Thus, it seems clear that the industry does not have a viable solution to the radioactive pollution and, hence, waste problem - which will be further aggravated if new nuclear would be classified by the EU as ‘sustainable’.


HOW TO RESPOND, according to

  • We attach some suggested text which you may wish to use to inform your response to the consultation.
  • Please note the maximum allowable text is only 2000 characters(plus 500 characters for additional evidence).
  • We have provided some screenshots in the attached document to guide you through the process.
  • The technical report which sets out the proposed contents of the draft Taxonomy can be found here.
  • In addition, we encourage you to submit a longer response via email: ec-teg-sf@ec.europa.eu
Authors: Dr. Eva Stegen, Dr. Paul Dorfman
Dieser Beitrag gibt die Meinung des Autors wieder, nicht notwendigerweise die der Redaktion des Freitag.

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