Germany, four others oppose classing nuclear as green in EU

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany has gathered support from four European Union countries around its opposition to classifying nuclear energy as "green" and sustainable for investment purposes, a letter to the Commission seen by Reuters on Friday showed.

By making green investments more visible to investors in its new rule book, or taxonomy, Brussels hopes, from next year, to help steer huge sums of private capital into activities that support EU climate goals.

Spain, Austria, Denmark and Luxembourg joined Germany in saying investors concerned about nuclear waste storage could lose confidence in financial products labelled green if they included nuclear energy without their knowledge.

"We worry that including nuclear power in the taxonomy will damage its integrity and credibility, and therefore its usefulness," the countries' ministers said, adding that every EU country has the right to choose its own form of energy.

Countries like nuclear-reliant France and some eastern European states favour nuclear because it emits no climate-harming carbon.

The Commission has published climate-related criteria for green investments ranging from building renovations to the manufacture of cement, steel and batteries.

The nuclear issue, which is being dealt with separately, finds mixed responses even inside the Commission. The letter cited the fact that the question of final nuclear waste storage is not yet clarified.

Germany, already committed to phasing out nuclear energy 20 years ago over safety concerns, responded to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan by accelerating its national exit scheme for reactors.[POWER/DE]

(Reporting by Markus Wacket, writing by Vera Eckert, editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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