Stockholm (NordSIP) – The role of nuclear energy in the energy transition remains mired by controversy. In Europe, the issue remains politically charged and continues to attract attention in the context of the EU’s categorisation of green industries – the Taxonomy.
At the end 2020, the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA) noted that “nuclear energy is not listed amongst Taxonomy-eligible activities despite its important contribution to decarbonisation of the energy mix in certain EU Member States and, increasingly so, in industrialising G20 countries.” Partially in response to these concerns, the European Commission launched consultations on the part of the green taxonomy concerning gas and nuclear activities n the very first day of 2022. The proposal was met with concern by sustainable asset managers.
In a March 2020 Taxonomy report, the Technical Expert Group (TEG) on Sustainable Finance advising the European Commission on the green transition, argued that “the evidence about nuclear energy is complex and more difficult to evaluate in a taxonomy context. (…) Evidence often addresses different aspects of the risks and management practices associated with nuclear energy. (…) Despite this evidence, there are still empirical data gaps on key DNSH issues,” the TEG said.
In the Nordic region, Sweden and Finland still rely relatively heavily on nuclear power, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Sweden’s five sites (Ågesta, Barsebäck, Forsmark, Oskarshamn and Ringhals) produced 34% of its electricity in 2019. Finland’s two locations (Loviisa and Olkiluoto) produced almost 35% of the country’s electricity in 2019.
Nuclear power is expensive, heavily regulated, slow to build and raises environmental concerns. Presently, risks such as meltdowns, radioactive waste, and proliferation of fissile materials are simply a part of running NPPs, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). However, its lack of CO2 emissions and its ability to produce energy without interruption can be a draw to investors and policy-makers.
To better understand this topic requires a more in-depth review of this complex issue, including a discussion of four important issues regarding nuclear power: its appeal, safety concerns, proliferation risks, waste management and investment costs. Starting this week, and for the coming four weeks, NordSIP’s Thor Lindskog will provide an overview of each of these topics.
Click below to access the articles in this series:
- Intermittency and the Appeal of Nuclear Energy
- An Overview of Nuclear Power Safety Concerns
- The Threat of Nuclear Proliferation
- The Scale of Radioactive Waste Management
- The Economic Challenges Facing Nuclear Energy