The Council of EU member states and the European Parliament agreed to label nuclear power as a strategic technology together with 16 other technologies declared strategic for the EU’s decarbonization, following months of negotiations in Brussels over the Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA).
The NZIA aims to speed up the deployment of technologies that can contribute to meeting the EU’s net-zero emissions target. This is seen as a direct response by the EU to the Biden Administration’s Inflation Reduction Act and efforts by other countries, including China, to become global leaders in the manufacturing of clean technologies like batteries, heat pumps and solar panels.
The NZIA aims to accelerate permitting procedures for industrial production sites involved in the manufacturing of components needed for renewable energy technologies, but also for nuclear power.
Negotiators representing the Parliament, the Council, and the European Commission confirmed on Tuesday the “strategic” nature of projects relating to nuclear energy, which are included in a single list of 17 net-zero technologies that will benefit from the NZIA.
French MEP Christophe Grudler who took part in the talks for the centrist Renew Europe group in Parliament, explained that each EU country will be sovereign in defining the projects that will be considered strategic on its territory, and thus which will benefit from faster permitting and simplified administrative rules.
However, as a result of the negotiations, “the two types of energy (namely, renewable and nuclear) are finally being treated equally as part of the reindustrialisation process,” Grudler rejoiced.
The agreement encompasses both traditional nuclear nuclear technologies as well as future third and fourth generation designs, i.e. small modular reactors (SMRs) and other types of advanced nuclear reactors and their corresponding fuel cycles.
“The message is clear: the EU recognises that we need nuclear power to achieve the objectives of the Green Deal,” the French MEP told Euractiv.
Read more at EURACTIV’s “Nuclear power officially labelled as ‘strategic’ for EU’s decarbonisation,” by Paul Messad, February 7, 2024.
See EURACTIV’s “EU Parliament backs extensive net-zero industry ‘wishlist’, including nuclear,”by Paul Messad, Nov. 23, 2023.