The Nuclear Consulting Group, Global 2000, Cities for a Nuclear Free Europe (CNFE), the Co-ordinator of the Alliance of Regions for Phasing-out Nuclear Power Across Europe and the UK and Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) warmly welcome a decision of EU member states that the planned ‘European Just Transition Fund’ will not provide financial support for new nuclear projects or fossil fuel schemes like gas power. (1)
The European Commission is seeking to establish a €40 billion Just Transition Fund, made up of €30 billion from an EU coronavirus recovery fund and €10 billion euros from the Commission’s budget for 2021-27.
The aim of the fund is to move European economies away from old high-carbon industries like coal, retraining workers from such sectors, into new low-carbon renewable energy jobs. The Fund will also focus support in regions which have high carbon polluting industry and move them towards renewable energy alternatives.
On Wednesday 24th June, ambassadors from the EU’s 27 member states agreed that the European Just Transition Fund should not support the decommissioning or construction of nuclear power plants, nor investments related to fossil fuels, according to a document which was published the following day. The decision now brings member states in alignment with the European Commission, making it likely that the final Just Transition Fund will formally exclude nuclear and gas.
This proposal will be finalised following negotiations between EU member states, the European Commission and the European Parliament. MEPs in the Parliament have consistently supporting ambitious climate change policies focused on renewable energy.
The groups welcome that the Just Transition Fund has taken such a clear stand by excluding on nuclear and fossil energy. In a parallel move, this initiative is taking place in preparation of EU Green Finance, known as the taxonomy. As the nuclear industry and certain EU member states were unwilling to accept that nuclear, along with fossil energies, was not recommended by the experts who prepared the TEG (Technical Expert Group), a separate process for nuclear was established. However, we call upon the European Commission to not allow nuclear energy to altogether bypass the Platform on Sustainable Finance which will be set up to accompany the process for the upcoming two years.
The groups encourage those EU states particularly supportive of renewables to hold their nerve and ensure this decision is completely finalised in cooperation with the European Commission and the European Parliament. With the climate crisis so pressing and requiring such urgent attention, this decision could go some way to creating the real momentum that is needed for zero carbon policies. We encourage member states to work with regional and local authorities in delivering a large increase in the uptake of renewable energy schemes, energy efficiency projects and battery storage back-up.
Nuclear power is an expensive, radioactive-waste laden and overly complicated energy source. It is time to move away from it and fossil fuels and embrace renewables. The groups are delighted the EU is moving positively in that direction.
Dr Paul Dorfman, Co-ordinator of the Nuclear Consulting Group, said:
“This is an important and landmark decision. World-wide and in the EU, the fate of new nuclear is being determined by an increased roll-out of renewable energy technology. Market trends for new nuclear are in stark decline and renewables are markedly rising. The explanation for this is the ramping costs of nuclear and the plummeting costs of renewables. In combating climate change, there are choices to be made, and the EU states have made the right decision. Now they should do the same on EU taxonomy and sustainable finance.”
Chair of the Cities for a Nuclear Free Europe, Ulli Sima of Vienna City Council, comments:
“This decision is an important move into the right direction. Renewable energy and sustainability are clearly the answer to the challenges of the coming years. But we have to stay vigilant to prevent nuclear power sneaking in through other paths.”
Stefan Kaineder, Regional Minister of Upper Austria and Coordinator of the Alliance of Regions for Phasing-out Nuclear Power across Europe, added:
“Climate scientists have been explaining for years that CO2 must be saved as quickly and cost-effectively as possible to overcome the climate crisis – and nuclear power cannot make any contribution to this. It is too expensive, too dangerous, comes too late and prevents the urgently needed expansion of renewable energies. As the Alliance of Regions, we are committed to a step-by-step phase-out of nuclear power across Europe, and I am pleased about this first success of the joint activities with our partner organisations”.
Ends – for more information please contact:
Paul Dorfman, NCG on 00 33 (0)640 988 009.
Dalibor Strasky, Alliance of Regions Secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan Dictus, CNFE on email@example.com
Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 00 44 (0)161 234 3244.
Notes for Editors: