for Greenpeace and WISE International
1. Deep geological disposal of high-level waste does not fulfil the DNSH criterion
In order to circumvent the DNSH criterion, the EC has followed the further not justified conclusions from
the JRC that deep geological disposal would be a solution for the high-level and long-lived radioactive waste
fractions in the nuclear fuel chain. There is no consensus that deep geological disposal is practicable and
there is, not even in Finland, any deep geological disposal currently in operation that has a proven safety
case. There is furthermore definitely no scientific consensus about the fact that deep geological disposal
resolves all intergenerational problems around radioactive waste. Examples of this include the need for
retrievability of the waste (in case better solutions are found or problems in the disposal occur – see for
instance the recent problems in the low- and mid-level waste storages in Asse II and Morsleben in Germany),
the need for passing crucial information to future generations, the need for security overview for future
generations, the need for monitoring for future generations. The JRC report completely ignores these issues,
but the conclusions is very clear: deep geological disposal does not resolve the DNSH problem.
2. Also when deep geological disposals are available in 2050, high-level radioactive waste will
remain a multi-generational operational problem
Besides the issues mentioned above, when a geological disposal will come available for operation before
2050, it still will be 60 to 80 years in operation before it is filled, backfilled and closed. That means that in
that case two to three generations will be burdened with operational work and economic burdens from
decisions made in the current decade. This period will have to be prolonged, if it is decided that retrievability
needs to be secured for a longer period.
3. There are in the DA no clear criteria about the quality of a deep geological disposals
The Taxonomy is to promote sustainable, green financing. The currently operated criteria for radioactive
waste in the Euratom directive 2011/70/EURATOM on radioactive waste are not specific about to which
quality standards a deep geological disposal has to adhere. This is at the moment mainly organised in
national legislation of the few countries that are attempting to create a deep geological disposal: Finland,
In order to secure that the criterion of an operational deep geological disposal in 2050 indeed fits in a
Taxonomy for sustainable financing, the DA would have to contain minimal criteria for the quality of
such a deep geological disposal site, including criteria on long-term safety, security, retrievability of
deposed materials, status and preservation of information in strict adherence to the DNSH criterion.
These criteria are currently missing.
4. There are in the DA no clear criteria about the quality of the plans with detailed steps to
have in operation, by 2050, a disposal facility for high-level radioactive waste
In the current formulation, such a plan could consist of three lines. That is, of course, not what the
Commission has in mind. In order to fulfil the DNSH criterion, such plans should be of such quality that they
more or less guarantee that a high quality, safe deep geological disposal site is in operation in 2050.
Therefore, the DA should contain concrete criteria for these plans – and timelines – in order to minimise the
chance that such deep geological disposals will not be of sufficient quality and not in operation in 2050.
These criteria should include issues like transparency, public participation, engineering quality criteria,
criteria on BAT (Best Available Technology), criteria on BRP (Best Regulatory Practice) and checkpoints
during the timeline where the Commission can conclude whether these criteria are met, and if not, withdraw
the project from approval under the Taxonomy. In order to fulfil the spirit of the Taxonomy on Sustainable
Finance, such criteria should go beyond Business as Usual criteria as set out in 2011/70/EURATOM and
5. The DA is not technology neutral: like with gas, the use of finance for nuclear should also be
part of a clear energy development plan consistent with 1.5° C
In the gas-part of the DA, criteria are introduced to basically guarantee that use of gas as an intermediate
source of energy has to be in line with a pathway keeping within Paris goals of 1.5° C. This includes an
obligation that the gas facilities need to replace existing facilities on solid or liquid fossil fuels and the
obligation for the Member State to have committed to a phase-out of the use of energy generation from coal.
For nuclear energy, similar criteria should be developed and incorporated that secure a pathway in line with
the Paris goals of 1.5° C. The use of nuclear power should not unnecessary delay phase-out of fossil fuels,
especially solid and liquid ones – nor by diversion of capital, nor by timely delay waiting for the introduction
of nuclear capacity.
6. The DA locks in fossil fuel use beyond 2050
The criterion that a construction permit has to be issued by 2045 de facto means that the DA allows the
construction of nuclear capacity that will not be able to replace solid or liquid or gaseous fossil fuels before
2050, ergo will allow for fossil fuel use to beyond 2050. This is not in line with the EU’s goal of full
decarbonisation in 2050. It has to be assumed that the construction time of a nuclear power plant is at least a
decade, which means that when the Commission is foreseeing use of coal or oil until 2045, only nuclear
power plants with a construction license before 2035 will be able to replace coal or oil – if the Commission
wishes a reduction of coal and oil in the electricity sector before that date, also the limit for when a
construction permit must be granted has to be moved forward, with at least a decade of space for
7. Stricter criteria for export of radioactive waste
In a Taxonomy for Sustainable Finance, practices that carry the risk that material is exported outside the
Union ending up as waste have to be excluded. Therefore the criteria for export of nuclear material labelled
as resource have to exclude such exports in which there is the slightest chance that it will not be fully used as
resource and may result in (partially or full) waste dumping in third countries.
8. Emergency preparedness and response to severe nuclear accidents is insufficient. There
need to be criteria that secure emergency preparedness and response is sufficient to meet
severe (INES 7) accident challenges
The post-Fukushima nuclear stress tests carried out in the EU did not include emergency preparedness and
response. The European Commission has tried to start up a debate about the issue, but it has not resulted in a
systematic improvement of emergency preparedness and response concerning severe (INES 7) nuclear
accidents anywhere in the Union. It needs to be kept in mind that the severity of these accidents (with
potential damage in excess of 400 Bln€) is far larger than the potential damage of any accident with the
technologies currently covered by the Taxonomy. If nuclear is accepted for financing towards the climate
targets set out by the EU, any gap in emergency preparedness and response needs to be filled to prevent
backlashes in case one or more severe accidents would happen on the territory of the Union.
9. IAEA and WENRA standards are voluntary – they need to be made compulsory in the
The IAEA and WENRA safety guidelines are detail guidelines to improve safety of nuclear power plants.
They are, however, not obligatory, but only advisory guidelines with no compliance mechanism to secure
their adherence. Some Member States have included the WENRA guidelines as compulsory in their national
legislation. For inclusion in the Taxonomy, adherence to the IAEA and WENRA guidelines should be more
clearly compulsory in the DA criteria, including compliance mechanisms.