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The final proposal presented this Wednesday by the European Commission has the objective of classifying nuclear energy as “green energy” in those companies that meet certain objectives that are in line with sustainable development, it has not left anyone indifferent. A proposal that undoubtedly puts a cable to an energy that is increasingly gobbled up by renewables, which are the bet of most European countries. A model that aims to distinguish sustainable technologies from those that are not in order to guide investments in the ecological transition. However, the idea of ​​qualifying the ‘nuclear’ as ‘green’ has not had the same impact on all the nations that make up the Union. According to the EC, The proposal seeks to minimize the damage to the nuclear sector during the energy transition, and with this label, countries such as France and the Netherlands take hold of the measure to mitigate economic losses and take advantage of this second chance.

The case of Spain is different, which aside from continuing to invest in this type of energy, has not seen with good eyes the proposal of the European Union. So much so, that in response to this draft green taxonomy, the Vice President and Minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Theresa Rivera, has stressed that “regardless of whether investments can continue to be made in one or the other, we consider that they are not green or sustainable energies“.

Image of a floating wind platform.  Bilbao School of Engineering (FILE PHOTO) 06/01/2020

However, the EU proposal has been received as ‘a boost’ in the nuclear energy sector in Spain: “The fact that Europe proposes this green label is recognition of something we have been saying for a long time and allows us to have better access to financing. This sector is making a great effort to adapt to the 2050 sustainable development goals,” says Ignatius Araluce, president and spokesman for Nuclear Forum, an association that since 1962 represents the interests of the Spanish nuclear industry. Araluce insists that this European declaration shows that nuclear energy does not emit CO2 and that it can form part of the energy transition.

Despite the fact that Ribera’s ministry believes that nuclear energy plays a necessary role in the ecological transition, it does not support the green label: “Spain is a firm defender of the green taxonomy […] to achieve the decarbonization of the economy and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Within that goal, admitting nuclear and natural gas as part of the European green taxonomy would be a step backwards“, they defend.

From the Nuclear Forum they see the Government’s position as somewhat confusing: “We ourselves are in favor of renewable energies, but the Ministry itself says that we are necessary in the ecological transition. If this is so and we really play a role, we must help in everything possible to make this happen.” Araluce assures that with this EU proposal there is no change in the closure schedule of the Spanish nuclear power plants, which begins in 2027 and ends in 2035. However, he does positively assess the European initiative and explains to La Información how the sector can benefit if it acquires this ‘title’: “If nuclear energy has the green taxonomy, it can opt for green bonds and have cheaper financing. In addition, we will be able to access greater private financing thanks to this label”. Even so, he acknowledges, there are many points that must be negotiated from the EC draft.

Araluce believes that there is a high tax level and trusts that it will be reduced so that they can coexist with renewable energies during the energy transition. In other countries, such as France or Finland, they have welcomed the EU proposal, and is that it is something that they had already demanded together with 9 other countries of the European community. According to the French country, “the increase in energy prices has also shown how important it is to reduce our energy dependence on third countries as quickly as possible” and they believe that with this new qualification future and possible supply crises can be combated by At the same time, renewable energies are promoted and strengthened.


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