The Federal Office for Nuclear Waste Safety (BASE), an official body that advises the German Environment Ministry, has rejected the European Commission's (EC) proposal to classify atomic energy as sustainable energy and claims that it is a high-risk technology.
"From a technical point of view the classification of nuclear power as sustainable energy cannot be defended," said BASE president Wolfram König in a position statement published Wednesday.
"Atomic energy is a high-risk technology, generates waste and involves the danger of radioactive material being used for terrorist or military purposes," he added.
König also warns that the use of atomic energy places a burden on future generations that is not compatible with the ideal of generational justice.
The EC proposal, according to BASE, is based on a report by the EU's Joint Research Center (JRC) from March 2021.
BASE experts had analyzed that report in a June 2021 report and had concluded that it insufficiently considered the implications of the use of atomic energy, that it is methodologically problematic and that it incurs simplifications.
These problems also affect the EC proposal of December 31, 2021.
In a statement BASE recalls that the current safety standards for nuclear power plants should prevent major accidents and reduce their consequences but cannot rule them out completely.
An accident can generate serious consequences for the environment, beyond national borders, which can lead to major risks for life and health in the EU and can also have strong economic and psychosocial repercussions.
Moreover, the communiqué points out that an extension of the use of existing nuclear power plants, designed for a life of 30 to 40 years, would require refurbishments that are only partially possible.
In addition, the deterioration of the materials leaves open the question of whether the plants could be brought up to current safety standards.
Another critical point is that in many EU states the liability of operators for nuclear accidents is limited to sums that would not cover the damage.
BASE considers it technically inexplicable that "so-called advanced technologies" are included among renewable technologies.
In relation to these advanced technologies, the organization recalls that "a number of reactors currently being discussed are based on principles that have been known for years but could never prosper for safety or commercial reasons".
Others are in the process of being studied and from the point of view of their technical safety could not yet be used because they cannot be fully assessed.
Finally, there is also the issue of atomic waste, which would still be produced with the types of reactors being proposed.
"The problem of radioactive waste remains unresolved 70 years after the introduction of that technology," says BASE.