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Germany to run nuclear units until April 2023 – Scholz

18 Oct 2022 04:52



18 Oct 2022 04:52

(Montel) Germany will keep running all three remaining nuclear units until 15 April 2023, as their total capacity of around 4 GW would help boost supply security amid the energy crisis, chancellor Olaf Scholz wrote in a letter to his coalition co-heads on Monday.

“The legal basis will be created to enable the nuclear power plants Isar 2, Neckarwestheim 2 and Emsland to continue operating beyond 31 December 2022 until 15 April 2023 at the latest,” Scholz said, ending a week-long debate with coalition partners the Greens and the Free Democrats.

Last month, economy minister Robert Habeck of the Greens struck a deal with power companies Eon and ENBW, the owners of the Isar 2 (1.4 GW) and Neckarwestheim 2 (1.3 GW) reactors, to extend the operational lifetimes of the units until mid-April 2023.

FDP leader and finance minister Christian Lindner wanted the units to be in operation for longer and even called for the reactivation of reactors shut down last year.

Germany’s last three reactors – including RWE’s Emsland A (1.3 GW) – were due to be shut down this year as part of the government’s nuclear phase-out plan.

They will now enter a so-called nuclear reserve and most likely be activated due to the historically low nuclear availability in France. Habeck announced the reserve last month.
Welcomed compromise
Both Lindner and Habeck welcomed the chancellor’s compromise. 

“The continued use of the Emsland nuclear power plant is an important contribution to grid stability, electricity costs and climate protection,” Lindner said via Twitter. “We can create the legal basis together immediately. We will also work out viable solutions together for the winter of 2023/2024.”

“It is an unusual solution to a messy situation,” Habeck said in an interview with public broadcaster ARD late on Monday. “[It is] a proposal that I can work with, that I can live with,” he said. “We were running out of time.”

Isar 2 is now scheduled for maintenance from 21 October to prepare the reactor for the extended operation.

Germany’s lower house Bundestag is expected to adopt the legal framework for the lifetime extension this week.

The country faces an uncertain winter with limited gas availability due to the Russian war in Ukraine, a bleak outlook for French nuclear production and stricken hydropower reserves in Europe after a month-long drought in summer.

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