Germany will keep two nuclear power plants in reserve until mid-April 2023 to be able to generate electricity in an emergency, thus delaying the definitive nuclear blackout planned for the end of this year, as announced on Monday by the German Minister of Economy and Climate, the environmentalist Robert Habeck, at a press conference in Berlin. There are three nuclear plants in operation in the country, and for now only one of them will close.
The Minister and Vice-Chancellor Habeck presented, together with his team, the results of the second resistance test commissioned by the German Government to evaluate the scenarios for this winter of energy emergency without an assured flow of Russian gas, which has become an element of Vladimir Putin's 'energy blackmail' in the context of the Russian war against Ukraine.
The Russian gas company Gazprom announced last Friday that the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea will not resume deliveries after three days of maintenance, alleging technical reasons (repair of a turbine), which European countries consider highly suspicious. Habeck confirmed that no gas is flowing through the pipeline.
"The results of the resistance test suggest that, in the event of an emergency situation in the winter of 2022/23, it is convenient to keep these two plants in the south of the country in reserve," argued Habeck when presenting the conclusions.
The objective in prolonging the life of two of the three nuclear power plants still in operation in Germany is not to have to burn gas to produce electricity, in a scheme similar to the one that prompted the Government to also use reserve coal plants, an announcement made in early summer. The two nuclear plants that will continue operating until next spring are Isar 2, next to the Isar River, in Bavaria, and Neckarwestheim 2, in the Baden-Württemberg land. The one in Emsland, in Lower Saxony, will be disconnected this year, according to the calendar.
For Germany -and specifically for the greens-, the goodbye to atomic energy has always been very relevant. In 2011, the Fukushima catastrophe and the outcry in German public opinion prompted the until then contrary conservative chancellor, Angela Merkel, to turn around and order the abandonment of nuclear energy. The blackout should materialize at the end of this 2022.
For its part, the current coalition government of Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz had agreed to advance the exit from coal to 2030, which was scheduled for 2038. Thus, environmentalists are having to modulate their objectives due to the energy emergency due to war. Upon his arrival at the site of the press conference, Minister Habeck was received by Greenpeace activists who demanded the promised closure of the plants.
The finance minister, the Liberal Christian Lindner, had long pushed for a longer use of nuclear power.