The fight has begun for the future of nuclear power in Europe

Read this article in English here or in Swedish here.

Malmö, 4th of November 2019

Despite the facts that several heavy international institutions have established that fossil-free nuclear power is an indispensable tool for dealing with the global climate challenge, there are countries in the EU that want to stop nuclear energy.

Kirsty Gogan, climate expert and former nuclear opponent, is now vigorously attacking these countries. Together with a Swedish engineer, an American entrepreneur and a Finnish eco-modernist, she has written a report proving that nuclear power is sustainable.

“According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC 2018, the world will need 2-6 times more nuclear by 2050 for a meaningful climate mitigation effort. Europe, with a big existing fleet and the required institutions and know-how in place, should be the forerunner in this”, says Kirsty Gogan and continues. “Solving climate change will be much more difficult, and far more expensive without investment to maintain existing plants, and in new nuclear projects. This requires a level-playing field and a fair market for energy”.

That is not the case today. Nuclear opponents in the EU are doing everything they can to put sticks in the wheel. The European Commission has appointed a technical expert group (TEG) to develop a regulatory framework defining which investments are to be classified as sustainable within the EU’s so-called Taxonomy for Sustainable Finance. Now it seems that TEG doesn’t intend to include nuclear power in its recommendation.

“European climate leaders are modern industrialised economies with low carbon intensity of electricity generation, achieved through a combination of nuclear and renewables”, says Kirsty Gogan and mentions countries as Sweden, Switzerland, France, Norway, Iceland, Belgium and Finland.

“If nuclear is excluded from sustainable finance, it will result in both new build and life extensions for existing fleet being more difficult to finance, making our climate challenge harder, more expensive, and more likely to fail”, she emphasises.

Nuclear power – a sustainable source of energy?

A first confrontation arose recently when the European Council’s decision to support the Finnish Presidency’s wording in favour of “renewable and climate-neutral energy sources” left the door open for nuclear power to be classified as green in the EU’s new sustainable economic taxonomy. But the proposal encountered enemy patrol.

“Predictably, and yet still shockingly, Germany, Austria and Luxembourg voted against it. History will judge them and those NGOs that are campaigning, purely on ideological grounds, to shut down Europe’s largest source of clean energy during the height of our climate emergency” says Kirsty Gogan.

But she has no intensions to give up. She co-authored a conspicuous document, which was sent to the European Commission as a referral report to TEG’s Sustainable Investment Framework. Other writers include is the Swedish engineer and author Staffan Qvist, the American energy entrepreneur Eric Ingersoll, and the Finnish writer and eco-modernist Rauli Partanen.

The report is a heavy statement that the European Commission hardly can ignore.

“The inclusion of nuclear energy as a source of low carbon and sustainable generation should be confirmed by the European Commission and the Parliament. If the Sustainable Finance Taxonomy aims to be a technology neutral document – which it says it is – then it needs to prove this. It needs to prove it by sticking to the best available evidence and disregarding political ideology. Otherwise it risks becoming irrelevant”, warns Kirsty Gogan. “However, the outcome of the negotiations is very uncertain, and the real devil will be in the implementation phase. Therefore, we need to keep the pressure up. We need to strengthen the Council and the Member States who agree with us on the issue of how nuclear power is sustainable. Use our Sustainable Nuclear report to draft your own correspondence making the case for nuclear to be included to policy makers, political representatives and the media”, advice Kirsty Gogan.

“We do need the NPP owners to stand up for nuclear as a clean, reliable and affordable source of low carbon power sustaining high quality jobs, and providing clean power to millions of European citizens. NPP owners could take a much more proactive and coordinated approach to articulate and advocate for these societal and environmental benefits. Be proud that nuclear power improves lives and protects nature”.

Nuclear power is needed to reduce fossil emissions globally. Global expansion of nuclear power can reduce fossil emissions, stop global warming and save 100,000 lives every year. Despite these undeniable facts, there are both people and organisations who maintain that nuclear power is dangerous with reference to the accident risk.

“Many people worry about the risks of nuclear power. But humans are terrible at making accurate assessments of risk! It’s important to look at the data. Scientist at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, calculated that global nuclear power has prevented an average of 1.84 million air pollution related deaths”, ends Kirsty Gogan.

Read a PDF in English here or in Swedish here.

Read the Sustainable Nuclear report by clicking on the image below.

Watch the interview with Kirsty Gogan on Youtube