France Forges Pact to Make Nuclear Part of EU Clean Energy Shift
Comment of the Day

February 27 2023

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

France Forges Pact to Make Nuclear Part of EU Clean Energy Shift

This article from Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

“The US, the UK, South Korea, China, India and even Japan are contemplating using nuclear energy as an important means to decarbonize their economies, and we need to be on the same level playing field,” Pannier-Runacher said Monday.

The next battleground is a definition of “green hydrogen” in an EU directive known as RED3, which would set targets for using the fuel in industry and transport. France is pushing for nuclear to be considered a clean energy source, while countries such as Spain and Germany are focusing on hydrogen derived from renewables such as wind or solar.

The EU sees hydrogen as a key pillar of its efforts to slash emissions by 55% by 2030. The outcome of the negotiations could jeopardize a flagship project to pump the fuel from Barcelona to Marseille and then onto Berlin via a pipeline, known as BarMar or H2Med.

France’s Hydrogen Pipeline With Spain at Risk Over Green Rules For “green investments,” France has already reached a compromise with Germany to allow nuclear energy and natural gas to receive funding from environmental investors. While that added the two energy sources to the so-called EU taxonomy — a list of activities deemed in line with the bloc’s transition to climate neutrality — there are still concerns the move could divert investment away from renewables.

The French initiative was welcomed by a number of other EU nations. “We are happy that nuclear somehow came back to the discussion in the EU  — years ago it was kind of a forbidden topic,” said Anna Moskwa, Poland’s minister of climate and environment. “It is of our common interest to build stable sources, that is why Poland decided to develop nuclear.”


Eoin Treacy's view

There is nothing quite like a war on the border to focus minds on the need for energy security. Nuclear reactors are reliable and each one lasts for decades. That does not mean they are free and there is certainly room to improve efficiencies in construction. However, many of the issues associated with budget overruns have to do with planning delays and custom part manufacturing. Both of these obstacles can be overcome by settling on a smaller design and building more of them. 

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