Rosatom has published a detailed analysis of the EU requirements for nuclear projects to be recognised as green, as delineated in the Complementary Climate Delegated Act adopted in July 2022. The publication of Rosatom’s analysis, which can be found on the company’s official website, has been timed to coincide with the UN International Conference on Climate Change (COP27), which addresses, amongst other issues, “green” technologies and pathways towards the energy transition. Rosatom’s analysis refers to existing VVER reactor technologies, in addition to a number of existing and ongoing innovative initiatives developed to close the nuclear fuel cycle.
The analysis evaluates the four main pillars underpinning the EU’s criteria:
1. Levels of greenhouse gas emissions,
2. Nuclear power plant operational safety,
3. Nuclear fuel cycle,
4. Decommissioning and managing the back-end nuclear fuel cycle.
In general, Rosatom’s existing technological solutions in the field of nuclear energy meet EU Taxonomy criteria, including nuclear power plant safety and reliability requirements. Tolerant fuel and back-end criteria have also been evaluated. It has been concluded that the EU’s specifications regarding these pillars are general in nature and can be interpreted in various ways.
Rosatom’s analysis is of particular relevance, since the EU Taxonomy is by far the most comprehensive of such taxonomies and, in many ways, acts as a reference list for green project requirements. Many countries regardless of geography, are guided by the EU taxonomy, including when crafting long-term development programmes and energy transition strategies. The inclusion of nuclear energy in the EU Taxonomy is a positive development with an expected positive effect on the nuclear industry and the potential to increase interest in nuclear technology.
Notes to the editor: The EU Sustainable Finance Taxonomy was adopted in June 2020, and a Complementary Climate Delegated Act to the EU Taxonomy was adopted in July 2022, after numerous discussions within the European Union. The document defines the criteria for qualifying gas and nuclear energy projects as activities to be implemented in the transition towards a green economy. The Act’s provisions will be in effect from 1 January 2023 onward.