Second grid “stress test” to determine whether Germany’s remaining nuclear plants still needed
The German government has said it will carry out a second assessment of the benefits of extending the runtime of the country’s remaining nuclear plants beyond their scheduled closure date, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports. Through another power grid “stress test” that will last “several weeks,” the climate and economy ministry (BMWK) aims to determine whether the three plants still in operation can contribute to keeping Germany’s energy supply sufficient throughout the winter, as the prospect of a full halt to energy trading with Russia has thrown the country’s energy industry into turmoil. A spokesperson for the ministry, which is led by Green Party minister Robert Habeck, said the test will hopefully clarify whether Germany will have sufficient electricity production capacity when the nuclear plants go offline on 31 December as planned. A first test in March found the nuclear plants would be of no great help in the current gas supply crisis, mainly because they cannot replace gas needed for heating and industry purposes. However, the new test, which will be conducted by transmission grid operators will also take into account skyrocketing gas prices which are expected to create serious difficulties both for households and business customers.
In Germany’s three-party coalition government, Habeck’s Greens and chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD) have ruled out continuing nuclear power production even amid the energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, while the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) have proposed a change of strategy if necessary, which would keep the reactors in operation for a limited period of time.