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Europe’s Top Copper Producer Wants Nuclear Energy Labeled As Green

European industries could grow using clean energy only if the European Union (EU) decides to classify some nuclear power plant investments as sustainable, the head of Europe’s top copper producer, told Bloomberg in an interview.

“There’s no other logical way for the European industries to grow, based on clean energy, than through nuclear power,” Marcin Chludzinski, chief executive of Polish copper producer KGHM Polska Miedz, told Bloomberg.

“Even if we maintain profitable production despite rising gas and electricity costs, some European steel and iron makers aren’t able to do this any longer,” Chludzinski added.

KGHM Polska Miedz announced in September last year a preliminary agreement with U.S. firm NuScale Power to develop and build the first small nuclear reactor (SMR) in Poland.

KGHM Polska Miedz, a top electricity user in a country where coal currently makes up around 70 percent of power generation, is looking at low-emission solutions to power its operations as it aims to be carbon neutral in its own emissions by 2050.

Yet, the issue with whether nuclear power should be considered “green” has created a row among EU member states, with some strongly supporting the idea—including Poland and France—and others openly hating the possibility of putting a sustainability label on nuclear energy. The latter include Germany and Austria.

Related: Russia’s Oil Output Could Peak In 2023

Early this year, the European Commission launched expert consultations over whether nuclear power and some natural gas projects can be considered “sustainable” investments, receiving immediate backlash over “green nuclear” from Germany and Austria, which accused the EU’s executive branch of greenwashing.

Austria expressed opposition to nuclear power being labeled as “sustainable” and, unlike Germany, it criticized the European Commission for considering including some natural gas projects under the “sustainable” taxonomy.

Over the weekend, Germany again slammed the “green” nuclear classification.

“As the federal government, we have once again clearly expressed our rejection of the inclusion of nuclear energy. It is risky and expensive,” Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in a joint statement with Environment Minister Steffi Lemke, carried by Reuters.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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