Germany welcomes the EU’s “green” energy plan for gas, continues to reject nuclear power

Pipes are shown at a gas compressor station in Mallnow, Germany, 1 November 2021. REUTERS / Hannibal Hanschke

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BERLIN, January 2 (Reuters) – Germany on Sunday welcomed a European Union plan to label some natural gas energy projects as “green” investments, but stressed its opposition to a proposal to do the same for nuclear power projects.

Germany unplugged three of its last six nuclear power plants on Friday to complete its nuclear phase-out, which was accelerated after the 2011 nuclear meltdown of a reactor in Fukushima, Japan. read more

“For the federal government, natural gas is an important bridging technology on the way to greenhouse gas neutrality against the background of the nuclear phase-out and coal-fired power generation,” said a government spokesman.

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“The government’s position on nuclear power remains unchanged. The government remains convinced that nuclear power cannot be classified as sustainable.”

While nuclear power has very low CO2 emissions, the European Commission has sought expert advice on whether the fuel should be classified as environmentally friendly in view of the potential environmental impact of radioactive waste management.

A draft of the Commission’s proposal, seen by Reuters on Saturday, would label investments in nuclear power plants as green if the project has a plan, funds and location to safely dispose of radioactive waste. In order to be considered green, new nuclear power plants must obtain a building permit before 2045. Continue reading

Investments in natural gas power plants are considered green if they emit less than 270 g of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt hour (kWh), replace a more environmentally harmful system with fossil fuels, receive a building permit by December 31, 2030 and plan to switch to low-carbon gases by the end of 2035.

EU countries and a panel of experts will review the draft proposal, which could change, before it is published in late January. Politicians have been involved in government lobbying for more than a year, and EU countries disagree on which fuels are truly sustainable.

In addition to Germany, other countries, including Austria and Luxembourg, are against nuclear power. EU countries such as the Czech Republic, Finland and France, which get around 70% of their electricity from fuel, see nuclear energy as crucial for phasing out CO2-emitting coal-fired power.

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Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Letter from Emma Thomasson; Arrangement by Alison Williams

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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