Legal experts at the Ruhr University in Bochum have dismissed the federal government’s legal reservations about the continued operation of the last six German nuclear power plants as “unconvincing”. Further use of the three nuclear power plants that were shut down on December 31, 2021 and the three that are due to be shut down is “permissible by law and can be regulated with legal certainty,” according to their verdict.

This requires “neither the granting of new permits nor the implementation of an environmental impact assessment,” says an expert opinion that the Institute for Mining and Energy Law has now prepared on behalf of the Economic Council of the CDU. This is available to WELT AM SONNTAG.

Professors Johann-Christian Pielow and Tobias Leidinger contradict the assessments of the Federal Ministry of Economics and the Environment. In an “audit report”, the houses managed by Robert Habeck and Steffi Lemke (both Green) came to the conclusion that restarting the three most recently shut down reactors was out of the question because of the “permission situation (expired operating permit)”. Continued operation of the three plants that are still running would therefore be equivalent to a “new approval”.

Contrary to what was presented by the ministries, however, the Atomic Energy Act “not the operating license, but only the right to power operation” expired, the professors explain. A power plant thus continues to have “a final, enforceable legitimacy that justifies its operation”.

Also, a “re-issuance of permits is not necessary because their permits are currently unrestricted”. Contrary to what has been claimed, the so-called EPR standard is not a benchmark for assessing the safety of nuclear power plants. Conclusion: The nuclear power plants could continue to be operated with a “manageable regulatory effort”.

The federal government’s legal arguments against the temporary continued operation are “unfounded,” comments Wolfgang Steiger, Secretary General of the CDU Economic Council, which is independent of the party.

Now it is important “to conduct the necessary discussion openly on the basis of well-founded arguments as to whether nuclear power plants can make a contribution in an emerging emergency situation in the energy sector and not to bury it in advance for ideological reasons”.