Foratom offers advice on improving EU taxonomy proposal

January 12, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

Foratom, the Brussels-based trade association for the European nuclear industry, wrote a letter yesterday to the European Commission welcoming the EC’s recent proposal to include nuclear in the EU taxonomy (under certain conditions), but also offering some suggestions for the proposal’s improvement.

The taxonomy is the European Union’s classification system for directing investments toward environmentally sustainable economic projects. On December 31, the EC’s nuclear-inclusive proposal was sent to expert panels from EU member states, with a response deadline of today. At a news briefing yesterday, however, an EC spokesperson announced an extended deadline of January 21.

Friendly advice: The Foratom letter makes the following points:

  • Given that nuclear is already recognized as contributing to climate mitigation objectives and does not cause more harm than other taxonomy-compliant technologies, it should be treated in the same way as are renewables, rather than as a “transitional activity.”
  • The deadline for an operational repository for high-level waste and spent fuel should be linked to the date when it will be needed, rather than being a fixed date of 2050.
  • Requirements relating to the use of accident tolerant fuels should only come into effect once such fuels are available on the market.
  • The assessment of nuclear projects should be in full compliance with existing legislation and in accordance with Article 41 of the Euratom Treaty.
  • EU investments in nuclear projects outside the EU should also be considered as taxonomy compliant.
  • The nuclear fuel cycle should be included as an enabling activity.
  • The production of heat and hydrogen from existing nuclear plants and advanced technologies should also be covered by the taxonomy.
  • More flexibility, and certainty, should be granted to research and innovation in the nuclear field.
  • In line with the principle of technology neutrality, nuclear investments should not be subject to separate disclosure requirements.

“We recognize that this issue remains a very complex one at the political level,” the letter concludes. “Nevertheless, we do believe that the issues listed above should be tackled in order to ensure that the principle of technology neutrality as enshrined in the Taxonomy Regulation is respected.”

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