European Union leaders agreed that nuclear energy will be part of the bloc’s solution to making its economy carbon-neutral by 2050, allowing them to win the support of two coal-dependent countries.
The EU heads of state and government agreed that nuclear energy will be recognized as a way to fight climate change as part of a deal that endorsed the climate target.
Although Poland did not immediately agree to the plan, the concessions on nuclear energy were enough for the Czech Republic and Hungary to give their approval. The two nations had the support of France, which relies on nuclear power for 60 percent of its electricity.
They managed to break the resistance of skeptical countries, including Luxembourg, Austria and Germany, to get a clear reference to nuclear power in the meeting’s conclusions.
In its final memorandum, the European Council “acknowledged the need to ensure energy security and to respect the right of the member states to decide on their energy mix and to choose the most appropriate technologies. Some member states have indicated that they use nuclear energy as part of their national energy mix.”
That line reassured the countries that are expected to suffer the most during the transition to clean power that their future nuclear power projects would be eligible for the billions in euros that will be made available as part of von der Leyen’s plan.
French President Emmanuel Macron insisted the use of nuclear energy is essential to make sure EU members don’t become dependant to natural gas or electricity imports.
A low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels, nuclear energy is part of the energy mix of 14 of the 28 member states, representing some 30 percent of the electricity produced in the EU. Some scientists argue that over the past half a century, nuclear power stations have avoided the emission of an estimated 60 billion tons of carbon dioxide by offsetting fossil fuel combustion.