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Nuclear Energy - Three German nuclear power plants will continue to operate until April

Nuclear Energy – Three German nuclear power plants will continue to operate until April

The three nuclear power plants are scheduled to remain in operation until April 15. On the basis of his political competence, German Chancellor Olaf Schultz (SPD) has ordered that the legal basis for the operation of the Isar 2, Neckarwestheim 2 and Emsland nuclear power plants after December 31 until April 15, 2023 at the latest be established. This was announced by a government spokesman in Berlin on Monday.

Free Democratic Party leader and Finance Minister Christian Lindner welcomed the decision: “It is in the vital interest of our country and its economy that we have all energy production capacity this winter. The chancellor has now made this clear,” Lindner said Monday in Berlin. Additional use of the Emsland nuclear power plant is an “important contribution to grid stability, electricity costs and climate protection.” The proposal therefore finds “the full support of the Liberal Democrats”.

argument for a week

A week-long controversy ensued. On Sunday afternoon, Schulz discussed the issue for the third time with Lindner and Economy Minister Robert Habeck (the Greens). As in previous consultations, the results were not announced then.

The Greens wanted to keep the nuclear power plants in southern Germany Isar 2 and Neckarwestheim 2 in reserve until April 15 and continue to use them to generate electricity if necessary. No new fuel components will be required for this. On the other hand, the third remaining nuclear power plant in Emsland in Lower Saxony was supposed to be closed on January 1, 2023, according to the will of the Greens. On the Deutschlandfunk website, Julia Hamburg, a green politician in Lower Saxony, noted that wind turbines are currently shutting down because the nuclear power plant was permanently connected to the grid. So the continuation of the process is not necessary. At the weekend, the Federal Green Party conference ruled out such a party beyond 2022.

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On the other hand, the FDP demanded that all three power plants continue to operate until 2024 and, if necessary, reactivate nuclear power plants that have already been closed.

Since the phase-out of nuclear power is enshrined in law early in the year, every extension of the operation of a nuclear power plant requires a change in the law. For this to be implemented, it must be approved by the Bundestag this week. It was necessary to reach an agreement between the coalition factions on Wednesday at the latest.

In a letter from Scholz on Monday, addressed to Habeck, Lindner and Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens), it says that “in parallel with this decision” on nuclear power plants, an ambitious law should be introduced to increase energy efficiency. In addition, the agreement between the federal government, North Rhine-Westphalia and the energy company RWE regarding the phase-out of coal in the Rhenish mining region must be “implemented by legislation”. Among other things, the agreement provides for two lignite-burning power plants to operate for a longer period, until 2024, but to offer the phase-out of coal in the Wrench mining area for an eight-year period until 2030.

In his letter, Schulz asked responsible ministers “to submit relevant regulatory proposals to the Cabinet in a timely manner.”