Energy Crisis

Germany still on the fence about full nuclear shutdown

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Published

August 22, 2022

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Published:

August 22, 2022

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Germany will likely proceed with its planned nuclear shutdown, though the government might consider keeping one plant running, according to Economy Minister Robert Habeck. The country’s plan to close down its three remaining nuclear power stations by the end of 2022 has been put into question due to the gas crisis in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to reports, unnamed government officials were recently quoted as saying that conditions had been met for a temporary delay of the three power plants’ shutdown.

However, Habeck, who is also the vice chancellor, said on Sunday that a delay would be the wrong move as it would cut Germany’s gas consumption by just 2% and would not be of great help in tackling the gas crisis.

A power system stress test might show it is justified to keep one nuclear plant running

Speaking to citizens at the government’s open day in Berlin, Habeck added that he would consider extending the lifespan of one nuclear power plant in Bavaria, depending on the outcome of a stress test aimed at assessing the electricity system’s resilience to a cutoff of Russian gas deliveries, according to reports.

Russia’s state-run energy giant, Gazprom, has already reduced its gas deliveries to the European Union.

Germany shut down three nuclear power stations in 2021

Germany’s nuclear phaseout was prompted by Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011. It retired three power plants at the end of 2021, announcing the remaining three would be closed by the end of this year. The three nuclear stations still in operation – Isar 2 in Bavaria, Neckarwestheim in Baden-Württemberg, and Emsland in Lower Saxony – have a combined capacity 4.3 GW, accounting for about 5% of Germany’s electricity.

Last month, Joachim Bühler from safety inspection operator TÜV said that it is feasible to restart the three decommissioned plants and that the entire fleet was capable of running for at least three more years.

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