BERLIN (AP) – The German government on Monday said it viewed nuclear power as dangerous and opposes European Union proposals that would let the technology be part of the bloc’s plans for a climate-friendly future.
Germany is on track to shut down its three remaining nuclear power plants at the end of this year and phase out coal by 2030, while neighbor France aims to modernize existing reactors and build new ones to meet the demands. to its future energy needs. Berlin plans to rely heavily on natural gas until it can be replaced by clean energy sources.
The opposing paths taken by two of the EU’s largest economies have created a difficult situation for the bloc’s Executive Board. An EU draft plan consulted by the Associated Press concludes that nuclear power and natural gas can, under certain conditions, be considered sustainable for investment purposes.
“We consider nuclear technology dangerous,” government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit told reporters in Berlin, noting that the question of what to do with radioactive waste that will last for thousands of generations remains unresolved.
Hebestreit added that Germany “expressly rejects” the EU’s atomic energy assessment and has repeatedly reiterated this position towards the committee.
Germany is now considering its next steps on the matter, he said.
Environmentalists have criticized Germany’s focus on natural gas, which is less polluting than coal but still produces carbon dioxide – the main greenhouse gas – when burned.
Hebestreit said the German government’s goal is to use natural gas only as a “bridge technology” and replace it with non-polluting alternatives such as hydrogen produced with renewable energy by 2045, deadline set by the country to become climate neutral.
He declined to say whether Chancellor Olaf Scholz supported the view of Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck that the European Commission proposals were a form of “greenwashing”.