Readers’ debate: How sensible are the EU plans to classify investments in nuclear power and natural gas as sustainable?

Brokdorf nuclear power plant

After almost 35 years of operation, the nuclear power plant was shut down at the end of 2021. While Germany is pulling out of atomic energy, other European countries are still relying on it.

(Photo: dpa)

It was the big excitement at the beginning of the year: the EU Commission’s draft to classify investments in gas and nuclear power plants as climate-friendly under certain conditions. Climate protection organizations are horrified, the traffic light parties are still arguing about a common stance, and Austria’s climate protection minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) even announced on Twitter that she wanted to sue the plans.

But the topic is not only causing a heated debate on the political stage, but also among the Handelsblatt readers who we asked for their opinion.

We have compiled the most interesting articles for you from a large number of e-mails.

Deeply concerned

“I am deeply concerned that the EU Commission is considering this step because, in my opinion, it is against common sense. Nuclear power may be low or carbon neutral, but no country on earth has finally clarified the question of final storage; so here the problem is (once again) pushed onto future generations. But natural gas seems to me to be a lot more problematic. Massive CO2 is released and drives us, as the EU, further into dependency on, most likely, Russian deliveries, or rather intensifies our dependence on raw materials. That can’t be in our interest. Let’s finally use the power of the sun and the wind sensibly! “
Michael Beyer

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The final blow to global competitiveness

“The disagreement over energy policy is becoming another Achilles heel of the idea of ​​a strong multilateral union. For us energy-intensive medium-sized companies, this disagreement will be the final blow to global competitiveness. We produce with the highest electricity prices in Europe, and with a rapidly growing trend. If we do not achieve energy congruence in the European Union, the lights of the German energy-intensive medium-sized companies will go out in the long run. “
Max Jankowsky

So that every country can go its own way

“The EU Commission’s plans to classify investments in nuclear energy and natural gas as sustainable make sense, so that each country can go its own way in supplying secure, quantitatively sufficient and economically competitive energy and climate protection.

If Germany gives France the opportunity to continue to supply itself competitively with nuclear power, France would in return be able to supply Germany with its nuclear power. This will be important when climate change changes the planetary circulation, consequently there will be no wind in Germany for a long time and we will then urgently need nuclear power from France. “
Ludwig Preiser

Only wind and sun are really sustainable

“How can nuclear power be sustainable if we still don’t have a solution for final storage? What catastrophe would there be in the event of a nuclear accident in the middle of densely populated Europe? Even the energy companies have already turned away from nuclear energy, because it is too expensive and too ineffective. Only wind and sun are free and do not harm anyone, so they are really sustainable. “
Berndt Lohmüller

The step back

“This classification is a step backwards: Companies and society need clear and long-term targets! Those who rely on natural gas or nuclear power still think in the short term. And it was this short-term thinking and acting that brought us into today’s catastrophic human situation. If something is promoted today, then it has to be sustainable. “
Miriam Thormählen

Too much black and white thinking

“Sustainable or not is too much black and white thinking for me. The atomic energy of today cannot be compared with the atomic energy of yesterday, but neither with the sustainable wind and solar energy. Why not graduated sustainability classes as in the granted energy efficiency classification? A for wind and solar energy, B for biogas and bioethanol, C for atomic energy, D for natural gas, E for oil and coal, etc. “
Jaska Herbert Harm

Depending on our neighbors

“You don’t need the label ‘sustainable’ to consider nuclear energy to be sensible, efficient, and even without alternatives. The former chancellor was of course also aware of this, but as so often she was guided by the perceived majority opinion. Because only that secured her another legislative period! As a physicist and servant of the German people, she could have saved us all, companies and private households, a lot of costs if we had continued to rely on our own nuclear power. Nowhere were the nuclear power plants newer and safer than in Germany. Instead, we make ourselves dependent on the nuclear power of our European neighbors! “
Monika Degen

There must be a consistent switch to renewable energies

“As long as there is no technology for the final storage or recycling of nuclear waste, this technology cannot be sustainable. If there is an answer to this, nuclear power is one of the best technologies for generating energy, provided that the nuclear plants are operated as safely as possible.
Since this is not the case, however, a systematic switch to renewable energies must be made. The long-term costs of nuclear energy must be included in a full cost calculation in a comparison with the development of renewable energies. “
Heiner Hutmacher

Most expensive and dangerous energy

“Investing in nuclear energy to achieve the climate goals is not just a mockery, but an annihilation against everyone who advocates sustainability and responsibility for future generations and nature. Today high profit from investments, what do the questions about the costs of dismantling and disposal that the children of the children pay? Chernobyl? Nuclear power has always been the most expensive and dangerous form of energy. In my opinion, gas-fired power plants make perfect sense for a transition phase. “
Maren Haartje

Nuclear power will boom

“This time too, the Germans will fail to think that the world can be improved (once again). Thanks to its CO2 balance, nuclear power will experience a boom in most countries of the world, which Germany, with good arguments, will consider reprehensible. The rightly placed argument of unexplained final disposal will inevitably lead to the fact that this will be solved innovatively and technically, but then certainly not by the industries of the countries that have closed themselves to the use of nuclear power. “
Klaus Raps

Another wrong way

“This approach is a fatal step with regard to the rapidly advancing climate change and a purely political / lobbyist concession to countries that have done too little for climate protection and, as in the past, want to take the easy path. The signal and the steering effect are fatal across Europe but also in Germany and are slowing down the expansion of renewables by taking another wrong turn! Nuclear power is neither renewable nor clean, not to mention the problem of radioactive waste and the risks – it is also not cheap. To call gas green borders on a scandal. The countries need sensible incentives in order to expand real renewables rapidly and strongly in order to be able to achieve the goals – not through pseudo-solutions! “
Peter Goblirsch

The future lies in green technologies

“There are now four generations of nuclear reactors. Fukushima and Chernobyl were second generation reactors. The fourth generation, which is in the starting blocks, can, depending on the technology, use nuclear waste as fuel, such as the SFR (Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactor). The future lies in green technologies. The federal government should support solar and wind power significantly more in order to drive innovation. As an alternative to coal and for basic security, fourth generation nuclear reactors will be an alternative from 2030. We shouldn’t be blocked by ideologies based on old assumptions. Natural gas is just as harmful as coal and oil and should not be burned. “
Dominik Rau

An early April Fool’s joke

“In my opinion, the preliminary taxonomy sends the wrong message. The ongoing promotion of the construction and operation of nuclear power plants and gas-fired power plants can lead to some countries resting on their supposed success. This could delay the expansion of renewable energies. From the point of view of CO2 emissions, nuclear power can perhaps still be discussed. The inclusion of gas-fired power plants, on the other hand, sounds more like an early April Fool’s joke. “
Henrik Magnus Harmeling

Opens the way to realism and pragmatism

“The EU Commission’s plans are important and necessary for climate protection.

The path Germany is taking is risky, expensive and endangers the competitiveness of the local economy. It is ideologically shaped. It is highly doubtful whether the 2030 climate targets can be achieved with this. The decision of the EU Commission opens the way to realism and pragmatism in future discussions. It prevents the EU from splitting.

It is to be hoped that Germany will find a constructive role in nuclear energy. “
Manfred Schroeder

Most recently, the Handelsblatt readership debated whether the ban on firecrackers on New Year’s Eve was a sensible measure. You can find out which opinions were represented here.

If you would like to have your say in the forum, please write us a comment on the economic topic that concerns you the most this week. Per email to [email protected] or on Instagram at @handelsblatt.

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