France, Finland, the Czech Republic and other central and eastern European countries have jointly pushed for nuclear energy in the European Union‘s upcoming sustainable finance rules, the Czech Industry Ministry said on Monday, according to Reuters.
The European Commission is expected to make a decision in the coming months on whether the climate taxonomy will label nuclear energy and natural gas as green investments.
The first-of-its-kind regulation aims to steer private capital out of polluting economic activities and into those the EU deems environmentally friendly.
“To win the climate battle, we need nuclear power. (…) It is for us all, a crucial and reliable asset for a low-carbon future,” said a statement from the countries, which was also signed by representatives of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, and Slovenia.
The countries have long pushed for nuclear to be included as a means of achieving the bloc’s climate goals, although the recent spike in energy costs, especially for gas has added weight to the debate with the region heavily reliant on Russian imports.
The countries led by France said rising energy prices showed the importance of cutting dependence on third countries as soon as possible.
EU countries are divided over nuclear, which produces roughly a quarter of EU electricity from the 13 states that use it. Supporters promote its low CO2 emissions, while opponents, such as Germany, raise concerns over hazardous waste and the delays and spiralling costs of recent projects.
France generates around 70% of its electricity from nuclear, while it accounted for around 37% of the Czech Republic’s electricity generation in 2020.