11 Oct 2022, 14:16
Carolina Kyllmann

Government agreement on German nuclear plant runtime extension plans delayed


The German coalition government hasn’t been able to come to an agreement over the economy minister’s proposed runtime extension scheme for two of the country’s three remaining nuclear power plants, news agency AFP reports in an article carried by Tagesspiegel. Laws need to be changed to keep the nuclear power plants on the grid past 2022, yet the coalition government – formed by the SPD, the Green Party and the FDP – let a deadline for a decision planned for 10 October slip, the economy ministry told news agency AFP. “This delay is a problem if you want Isar 2 to still be producing electricity in 2023,” the ministry said. The plant needs urgent repair work to prolong operations. The possible runtime extension, proposed by economy minister Robert Habeck, is meant to see nuclear plants Isar 2 in the southern state of Bavaria and Neckarwestheim 2 in neighbouring Baden-Wurttemberg continue to run “in emergency reserve” until 15 April 2023. Under current law, all nuclear power plants will be shut down at the end of 2022 and then decommissioned. Political disagreement within the government’s coalition partners meant no draft law was passed on Monday, the economy ministry said. The reason for the delay is a conflict mainly between the Greens and the FDP, writes Tagesspiegel. The FDP demands that nuclear power plants be allowed to run significantly longer because of the current energy crisis.

The proposal to keep two nuclear power plants at the ready until spring next year came following a “stress test” which suggested a limited runtime extension could make sense under current circumstances surrounding the energy crisis. However, the FDP says the nuclear runtime extension should be longer than proposed and recommissioning already shut-down reactors should be considered, while the Greens firmly reject both ideas. Government advisors have called for Germany to use nuclear power until the end of the energy crisis, while environmental groups have criticised the decision to keep the plants in reserve. Nuclear plant operators have agreed to extend operations until 2023.

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