Watch: How green is nuclear energy?
The EU is considering whether to label nuclear power “green.” That could make atomic energy eligible for investments aimed at making the future carbon-free. And today is the last day for countries to object to the plan, which has been controversial from the start. Overall, thirteen E.U. countries use nuclear power, generating just over a quarter of the bloc’s electricity. But there are huge differences between countries.
In recent years France got almost 70 percent of its electricity from its 58 reactors. The share in Germany was down to 11 percent in 2020, and the government is shutting down the last three nuclear reactors this year. Belgium says it wants to phase out nuclear by 2025 and Spain by 2035. Meanwhile, France plans to ramp up, adding six new reactors. Slovakia and Finland are also building new facilities, and Poland has long said it wants to build its own.
The issue has exposed a fault line between the EU’s major powers. Germany’s position is largely that the risks of nuclear accidents outweigh the benefits of climate friendly and reliable energy production. But the French and others say nuclear power must be an essential part of transitioning away from carbon-based fuels like coal.