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20 Mar 2023, 12:12
Carolina Kyllmann

German govt rules out further runtime extension of nuclear power plants

Funke Mediengruppe / Nikkei

The lifespan of Germany’s three remaining nuclear power plants will not be further extended, environment and nuclear safety minister Steffi Lemke told publishing house Funke Mediengruppe. The plants had been graned a runtime extension of three and a half months until April 15, 2023, in a bid to secure energy supply amid the energy crisis. Lemke has now reiterated that the nuclear phase-out will go ahead as planned in less than a month’s time. “The risks of nuclear power are ultimately uncontrollable,” she said, countering fears that energy supply security would be jeopardised by the phase-out. “We have a very high security of supply compared to other countries,” the Green politician said, adding that this was “clearly better” than that of neighbouring countries “with the highest nuclear energy share”.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had already told Japan business newspaper Nikkei that an extension was “not an option” on 3 March. “The last three nuclear power plants will cease operations in early April,” Scholz said. The Social Democrat had decided on the nuclear phase-out date last autumn, settling a debate between his coalition partners, the pro-business FDP and the Green Party. The former were in favour of a further runtime extension for all three reactors until 2024, while the latter wanted to see reactor Emsland A in Germany’s north decommissioned by the end of last year. Germany’s nuclear phase-out became particularly contested after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and during the ensuing energy crisis. Proponents of the technology within Germany and in other European countries argued it would be irresponsible to shut down existing power production capacity amid the crisis, whereas opponents warned against re-opening a dispute that had been legally settled for years.

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