Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) has spoken out in favor of at least not categorically ruling out a return to nuclear power. From an economic point of view, he is not yet convinced that new investments in nuclear power really pay off, Lindner told the “Bild” newspaper. “But Germany must not close its eyes to a debate that is taking place all over the world.”
“People expect that all options will be considered because of climate protection, dependence on (Russia’s head of state Vladimir) Putin and inflation,” Lindner said. “I advise putting the arguments on the table without prejudice.”
Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens), on the other hand, immediately rejected a renewed nuclear phase-out debate: “There is not much more to say about nuclear energy,” he said, according to “Bild”. At the beginning of the legislature period, the topic was examined again “technically without any ideology” and the relevant ministries had decided again: “This is not a path that Germany will go any further.”
The operators of the last three operating nuclear power plants in Germany also reacted with irritation to Lindner’s initiative. Continued operation beyond the specified end date for German nuclear energy on December 31, 2022 “would be associated with high hurdles of a technical and legal nature,” said a spokesman for RWE AG of the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung” (NOZ).
There is “a clear legal regulation for the shutdown of nuclear power plants,” said the spokesman. The federal government and the energy ministers of the federal states also declared in March that an extension of the service life was not an option “in order to increase security of supply and reduce dependence on gas supplies from Russia”.
The EnBW group made a similar statement. According to the NOZ, EnBW “stands unreservedly by Germany’s decision to phase out the use of nuclear energy for electricity production”.
A spokeswoman for the utility PreussenElektra, which operates the Isar 2 nuclear power plant, also emphasized when asked by NOZ: “We have made it clear over the past few weeks and months that Isar 2 could continue to operate under certain conditions, but that a certain amount of lead time is required .”
Only the Isar 2, Emsland and Neckarwestheim 2 nuclear power plants are still connected to the grid in Germany. They are also to be shut down by the end of the year.
The economy and environment ministries had already rejected an extension of the terms because of the new situation after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Instead, the energy transition towards renewable power sources should be promoted. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had also spoken out against the continued operation of nuclear power plants.