BERLIN, July 18 (Reuters) – Germany is considering extending the life of the country’s remaining nuclear power plants, the economy ministry said on Monday, as public support rises in the face of a possible cut-off of Russian gas.
Germany’s three remaining nuclear plants are scheduled to be shut down by the end of the year after former Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged to phase out nuclear power following the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan in 2011.
The three plants accounted for 6% of Germany’s electricity production in the first quarter of 2022.
A first examination by the environment and economy ministries in March found that extending the plants’ lifetime was not recommended, citing legal, licensing and insurance challenges, the need for extensive and possibly costly safety checks, and a lack of fuel rods to keep the plants running.
But falling Russian gas supplies to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline have emboldened pro-nuclear voices in Germany and Europe ahead of a feared electricity crunch this winter.
The ministry said power grid operators had requested a second examination of the viability of nuclear power.
“We will now calculate again and then make a decision on the basis of clear facts,” a spokesperson for the ministry said, adding that the results of the new evaluation were expected in a few weeks.
Members of the conservative CDU/CSU opposition bloc have blamed the Green party, which runs the economy ministry, for the government’s resistance to changing tack on the issue, saying this was purely ideological. read more