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Germany’s government has held firmly onto the belief that its nuclear power industry must be retired, even in the midst of an energy crisis. But today, it appears that could change, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz saying for the first time that the country could put off the retirement of its nuclear power fleet, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“It could make sense” to keep its nuclear power plants operating, Scholz said on Wednesday, despite the current plans to retire the final three plants come December, and despite Germany’s economy and environment ministries in March recommending against extending the life of the reactors.
At the time, the German ministries concluded that extending the life of the nuclear reactors would have a “very limited” impact on alleviating Germany’s power crunch, and that it would come at a “very high economic cost”.
“If someone decides to do so now,” Scholz said about the potential for building new nuclear power plants as recenly as in June, “they would have to spend 12-18 billion euros on each nuclear power plants and it wouldn’t open until 2037 or 2038. And besides, the fuel rods are generally imported from Russia. As such one should think about what one does.”
Germany has also restarted two power plans that run on oil as the country tries to conserve natural gas as Russian gas flows to Europe continue to be restricted amid an ongoing gas turbine repair situation. Coal-fired plants in Germany have also been resurrected.
Austerity measures have been implemented, with Stadtwerke Munchen reducing swimming pool temperatures and shutting saunas until further notice.
Germany’s plan to phase out nuclear power generation spans decades and was hurried along by the Fukushima disaster.
For now, the German government has commissioned a stress test for nuclear plants, according to the WSJ, to determine if the life of the plants can be extended safely, and whether it will truly aid Germany with its tight energy situation.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.