The working group of Christian Democratic Union, Christian Social Union and Free Democrat Party politicians said the extension of German nuclear power would be measured against international safety standards, and each power plant would be examined individually.
Details are thin, but according to the Berliner Zeitung paper, each atomic power plant would be licensed to run until the next safety inspection, and only allowed to continue if that was passed.
Yet the continued use of nuclear power has provoked divisions within the CDU, with Saarland's minister president Peter Müller announcing that his state would not vote in favour of such a law in the upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat.
“My [state] government voted in 2002 against a bill from three federal states to extend the running time [of atomic power stations],” he told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. He is planning to rule Saarland with the first CDU, FDP and Green coalition.
The Green Party was infuriated by the announcement, with chairwoman Claudia Roth describing it to the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper as a, “sharp attack on the internal peace,” of the country.
Her colleague, Greens parliamentary party leader Jürgen Trittin said continued use of nuclear power stations while new coal-fired stations were built would make the expansion of renewable energy difficult.
“We will be there when people demonstrate,” he said.
Some were already expressing their dismay at the change in policy away from the anti-nuclear power consensus – around a dozen protesters broke into the nuclear waste storage facility in Gorleben over the weekend and occupied a roof. A further 200 or so demonstrated outside the facility.