Germany is closing its remaining three nuclear power plants this year amid concerns over the safety of the technology.
The German government has said it considers nuclear energy dangerous and objects to European Union proposals that would make the technology part of the bloc’s plans for a climate-friendly future.
Germany is on course to switch off its remaining three nuclear power plants at the end of this year and will phase out coal by 2030, while its neighbor France aims to modernize existing reactors and build new ones to meet its future energy needs.
Berlin plans to rely heavily on natural gas until it can be replaced by non-polluting sources of energy.
The opposing paths taken by two of the EU’s largest economies have led to an awkward situation for the bloc’s Executive Commission. A draft EU plan seen by The Associated Press news agency concludes that both nuclear power and natural gas can be considered sustainable for investment purposes under certain circumstances.
“We consider nuclear technology to be dangerous,” government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit told reporters in Berlin on Monday, noting that the question of what to do with radioactive waste that would last for thousands of generations remained unresolved.
Hebestreit added that Germany “explicitly rejects” the EU’s assessment. nuclear energy and has repeatedly stated this position to the Commission.
Germany is now considering its next steps on the issue, he said.
Environmentalists have criticized Germany’s emphasis on natural gas, which is less polluting than coal but still produces carbon dioxide – the most important 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, the deadline set by the country to be climate neutral word.
He declined to say whether Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Minister of Economy and Climate Robert Habeck, supports the view of the European Commission’s proposals as a form of “greenwashing”.