EU to Greenlight Nuclear Power and Gas

EU to Greenlight Nuclear Power and Gas

The European Union will likely include gas and nuclear power as sustainable green-energy investments in its proposed list to be unveiled in near future, EU’s internal market chief Thierry Breton said in his recent interview. According to the EU official, the decision may be made public as early as in mid-January 2022.

Including natural gas and nuclear power in a taxonomy being debated by the European Commission may mark an important shift in EU’s energy and climate policies. For quite a long time, nuclear power has been seen as potentially dangerous, which resulted in a series of bans introduced by governments throughout the block, including Germany. In turn, being a fossil fuel, natural gas has been positioned as unsustainable by definition.

Experts believe that the shift may be owing to the inability of the EU to entirely replace hydrocarbons with renewables such as solar and wind power in its push towards carbon neutrality. In this light, classing NPPs and natural gas as green investments could be interpreted as a compromise between climate policy’s ends and means.

This change is likely to stimulate trade between the EU and Russia, with important regulatory and policy barriers hampering commodity and gas imports removed. Russian-made metals produced at smelters powered by NPPs are likely to gain a strong competitive edge in the EU market, while Russian gas, LNG included, will remain high on the list of goods exported to the EU. This in turn means that the Russian Arctic and its resources will remain in the focus for the coming decades.

Arctic Today is a column by PORA CEO Alexander Stotskiy analyzing major international, national and regional events and trends in the Arctic.
Alexander Stotskiy
22 December 2021
Arctic Today