Row over role of nuclear in climate treaty

Greenpeace, Foratom, cross swords over eligibility of nuclear under Kyoto flexible mechanisms

A renewed row over the role of nuclear power in combating global warming broke out this week, as EU member state representatives met in Brussels to prepare for a crucial conference of parties to the UN climate change convention due in the Hague in November.

Greenpeace issued a warning that France and the UK were calling for nuclear power projects to be included in the Kyoto protocol's "clean development mechanism" (CDM), under which industrialised countries will be able to claim greenhouse gas emissions credits if they help developing countries to cut emissions.

The group said the CDM risked becoming "a new subsidy for the nuclear industry" if nuclear was not excluded. "The CDM is meant to promote sustainable energy in developing countries, not create more radioactive waste," it claimed.

European nuclear industry association Foratom hit back, calling for the CDM to be implemented "without limits" on technologies that could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "All forms of energy are necessary for global sustainable development," the group said.

A source at the EU meeting confirmed that the UK and France were pushing informally to allow nuclear projects under the CDM, although there has been "no [formal] clear position" from either. The source said most other member states and the European Commission wanted to exclude nuclear, but that the issue would only be resolved at a senior political level, possibly when environment ministers meet later this month.

Follow Up:
Greenpeace International, tel: +31 20 524 9515; Foratom, tel: +32 2 502 4595. See also Greenpeace nuclear campaign and Foratom position papers on climate change.

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