07 Sep 2022, 13:37
Benjamin Wehrmann

German Greens reject calls for greater use of nuclear as plant operators voice concerns


The German Green Party has rejected criticism from the conservative CDU/CSU opposition alliance over economy and climate minister Robert Habeck’s decision to put two of the country’s remaining nuclear plants in an emergency reserve for several months beyond their scheduled decommissioning date. Green Party co-leader Omid Nouripour said the CDU/CSU alliance that led the German government for 16 years between 2005 and 2021 should show more “humbleness” in the current energy crisis, given that the country’s current predicament is largely due to energy policy decisions made in the four terms under conservative chancellor Angela Merkel. “It’s well known that especially the CSU together with the CDU have brought this difficult situation upon us in the last years,” Nouripour told news station n-tv. Calls for a greater reliance on the remaining nuclear plants and even a partial reversal of the country’s nuclear phase-out would be merely causing uncertainty among investors, the Green leader argued. “More nuclear plants mean our grid will be clogged – and this means fewer renewable power sources.” Nouripour said concerns that the nuclear plants in the emergency reserve could not help quickly in immediate grid bottlenecks were unfounded. “It’s obvious that such a massive stress situation does not occur from one day to the next,” he said, arguing that grid operators had enough time to anticipate a tense situation in the grid, so that nuclear plants can be run up with sufficient lead time, usually several days. “In this case the nuclear plants will be of help. We all hope that this will not become necessary,” Nouripour said.

The operators of the two plants picked for the reserve, E.ON for Bavarian plant Isar 2 and EnBW for the Neckarwestheim 2 reactor in Baden-Wurttemberg, meanwhile, have said putting the plants in a reserve mode would still require a lot of technical and legal preparations, n-tv reported in a different article. The nuclear emergency reserve plan had to be checked for its technical and logistical feasibility, operator E.ON said. Nuclear plants in general would not be designed to act as reserve capacity that can be turned on and off flexibly, the company stressed, adding that this would not mean security standards will be compromised in any event. Operator EnBW said the government had to quickly outline a detailed pathway for the emergency reserve in accordance with the operators, which would enable the company to assess the plant’s readiness for the plans. Habeck had said that plant operators will receive a “compensation” for the efforts they now have to take in order to keep their reactors in standby until mid-April next year.

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