Austria plans to oppose EU’s ‘green’ nuclear energy proposals

19 Jan 2022

Austria is preparing to fight the EU’s green nuclear energy plans it was announced on Wednesday, as the bloc aims to define nuclear power and natural gas energy as green investments.

"Neither of these two forms of energy is sustainable and therefore has no place in the taxonomy regulation," said Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler during an interview with AFP news agency.

"If the Commission continues to work with this proposal and implements it then it is clear that we will take legal action.” She went on to say that Austria had "very, very strong arguments" why nuclear power and natural gas energy should not be labelled as green and had "great confidence" a complaint filed at the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) could succeed.

"The question of waste disposal (from nuclear energy) has not been solved for decades...It's as if we give our children a backpack and say 'you will solve it one day,'" Gewessler said.

The European Commission is holding talks this week with member states and lawmakers on the proposals, with a final text to be published by the end of January, which may become law by next year.

Austria is attempting to get other member states on side, including Germany. Up to now, Luxembourg has signalled it would back a legal complaint, the Environment Minister said.

"Whatever is labelled green, whatever is labelled sustainable must also actually contain green and sustainable investments," she stated, and the fact that renewable energy was "cheaper, more readily available and a safer and better alternative to nuclear energy".

Austria has set itself a target that all electricity should be derived from renewable sources by 2030. As it stands over three quarters of energy already comes from renewable sources.