Germany May Reconsider Nuclear Phaseout Policy

Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck has indicated that the country may reconsider its nuclear phaseout policy as Europe seeks to cut its dependence on Russian energy.

Emsland Nuclear Power Plant in Germany, slated for decommissioning at the end of 2022. Credit: Smial at German Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons

The nation’s last three nuclear reactors are scheduled for decommissioning this year under an exit strategy overseen by former Chancellor Angela Merkel. In the past, Habeck, a member of Germany’s Green party has clearly stated no reversal in the nuclear phaseout strategy. However, as part of Germany’s strategy to gain independence from Russian fossil fuels following the invasion of Ukraine, Habeck suggested: “We’ll look at that without any prejudices… We are continuously looking at all eventualities.”

Opposition to nuclear power has been a fundamental platform of Germany’s Greens. The party has pushed back on proposals by its coalition partners to tap atomic power to help Europe’s biggest economy through the energy crisis. German Finance Minister Christian Lindner, a member of the business-friendly Free Democrats, has said the fallout from the war in Ukraine means the three governing parties (including Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats) should consider whether nuclear power can play an “emergency role.”

Habeck may have shifted his position slightly, but still remains cautious about backing nuclear plants. KernD, an industry association, asked Scholz this week to keep Germany’s remaining nuclear plants running longer than planned.  By slowing energy production this summer, companies could extend the operating time of the plants until next spring or even longer, according to an open letter posted on the group’s website.

More about Germany’s latest actions towards independence from Russian energy here: German Firms Sign Agreements with UAE to Build Hydrogen Supply Chain

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