05 Oct 2022, 14:00
Edgar Meza

Keeping Germany's nuclear plants in operation would save 1.3 mio tonnes of CO2 – economy ministry

Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung

Keeping all three German nuclear power plants in operation through March 2023 would save approximately 1.3 million tonnes of CO2, Germany’s economy ministry said in a statement obtained by the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung (NOZ). "Extending the operation of the three nuclear power plants Isar 2, Neckarwestheim 2 and Emsland that are in operation beyond December 31, 2022, could lead to a decline in coal-fired power generation in Germany of 1.2 terawatt hours (TWh) in the first three months of 2023," the ministry said in response to a query by Jens Spahn, deputy leader of the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) parliamentary group. Generating 1.2 TWh of electricity from hard coal produces around 1.4 million tonnes of CO2 but only 78,000 tonnes from nuclear power, according to the response. If all three nuclear power plants remained in operation, savings of some 1.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas would therefore be possible.

Federal economy minister and Green Party member Robert Habeck, however, intends to keep only two nuclear power plants connected to the grid, with the Emsland plant set to be shut down. "Electricity is expensive because it has become scarce,” Spahn told the NOZ. It is a serious mistake that the government does not leave all three nuclear power plants connected to the grid for another two years, he added. Instead, more coal-fired power plants will have to be connected to the grid again in Germany and Europe. "That's a double blunder, because coal is the climate killer par excellence," Spahn said, stressing that all three nuclear plants must remain connected to the grid “for the climate and energy security". Calls for Germany to continue operation of its remaining nuclear plants have led to a heated debate among the country’s leaders.

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