Extension of nuclear power not helpful in the short term – chancellor Scholz
Münchner Merkur / Handelsblatt
Chancellor Olaf Scholz has rejected calls to extend nuclear power generation in Germany. Speaking to newspaper Münchner Merkur, Scholz said it was simply not possible. “The nuclear phase-out was decided a long time ago, the fuel elements and the necessary maintenance intervals of the plants have been precisely coordinated with the phase-out. The fuel rods last until the end of the year.” Obtaining new fuel rods would take at least 12 to 18 months, he added. “That's why nuclear power won't help us now, not in the next two years, which is crucial.” Members of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), which form a coalition with Scholz's Social Democrats and the Green party, are pushing for a review of the country’s stance on nuclear power in view of a potential gas shortage due to the war in Ukraine, and possibly extending the operating lifetime of its three remaining nuclear power plants, Handelsblatt reports.
Finance minister Christian Lindner, a member of the business-friendly FDP called for an "open debate" on the matter. It’s not about a single winter that needed to be bridged, but about three to five years of energy supply in Germany and the shortage of gas, he argued. Fellow FDP member Andreas Pinkwart, North Rhine-Westphalia’s state economy minister, said Germany should examine whether the three reactors, which are due to be shut down this year, could remain in operation until March or April to ensure the country has enough energy through the winter. It’s also a medium-term problem that could extend until the end of the decade, he said. If the remaining nuclear plants are left in operation for the next eight years, Germany could push ahead with the coal phase-out, Pinkwart added.