08 Feb 2024, 13:38
Sören Amelang

Bavarian politicians voice concerns about security of planned Czech nuclear power plants

Süddeutsche Zeitung / Bayerischer Rundfunk

Local politicians from Germany’s border region in Bavaria have expressed concerns about the security of nuclear power stations planned in the neighbouring Czechia, according to a report in Süddeutsche Zeitung. The Czech government earlier in the week had announced it planned to build up to four nuclear reactors instead of one, two of which near the German border. District administrator Stefan Gruber, a politician from the Bavarian Conservative CSU party, called Czech plans to construct two plants at a distance of about 80 kilometres from his town of Freyung “worrying,” while his counterpart Ronny Raith from the town of Regen called for clarification over whether the neighbouring countries are also planning to store nuclear waste in the border region. In unison with other local politicians, they called on Bavaria’s CSU-led state government to request more information about the plans from the Czech government, including about which technology will be used, and which security standards will apply. Local residents also told regional broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk they were worried about security issues.

Bavaria’s CSU, the sister party of the Christian Democrats (CDU), is generally in favour of nuclear power. The party has lambasted the closure of Germany’s last three remaining nuclear power plants by the federal government last year. Bavarian state premier Markus Söder said late last year the reactors should be fired up again “immediately,” and called for plans to deploy new small and modular reactors (SMR) across the country, which have yet to be developed.

Germany's phase-out was agreed under former conservative (CDU) chancellor Angela Merkel in 2011, in the wake of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. Advocates of nuclear energy argue that a new generation of reactors could help achieve a decarbonised energy system, rather than basing it fully on renewable power sources, while also providing additional capacity to the system. Critics of a revision of Germany’s nuclear phase-out, on the other hand, say that redeploying the technology would involve high legal hurdles for licensing, considerable investor uncertainty regarding costs, and also enormous social resistance, given the unresolved challenges arising from nuclear power use. At the same time, nuclear power is seen as a potential risk for the swift and resolute roll-out of an energy system fully focused on renewables. All former operators of Germany's nuclear power plants have ruled out a return to the market.

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