Nuclear recognised ‘in principle’ in EU’s renewable energy law, says French minister

(EurActiv, 4 Apr 2023) The EU’s Renewable Energy Directive will indeed include a reference to nuclear power, according to France’s Energy Transition Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher, though she remains cautious about the substance of the agreement.

European negotiators reached an agreement on 30 March: Member states must collectively reach 42.5% of renewable energy in their overall energy consumption by 2030, with incentives for those that reach 45%.

Those who wanted a 40% target therefore met halfway with those pushing for a 45% objective. France was among the latter, provided that, in one way or another, the contribution of its decarbonised mix – thanks to nuclear power – was recognised.

“This agreement enshrines the recognition of the role of nuclear energy in achieving our decarbonisation objectives,” Pannier-Runacher told a press conference following the agreement.

“In concrete terms, this recognition involves the affirmation that the development of renewable energies is aimed solely at eliminating fossil fuels and must not lead to the replacement of nuclear reactors,” the minister explained.

This will be spelt out in a “recital” added to the preamble of the bill, setting out the reasons underpinning the EU directive, she said.

Although the final text has not yet been published, the minister’s office translated it as follows:

“In order to achieve this objective [the development of renewables], the deployment of renewable energies within the framework of the revised European target should be integrated with complementary decarbonisation efforts, including the development of other non-fossil sources”.

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EurActiv, 4 Apr 2023: Nuclear recognised ‘in principle’ in EU’s renewable energy law, says French minister