Electricity imports making up for nuclear suspension

Electricity imports making up for nuclear suspension
Photo: DPA
Electricity shortfalls created by the German government's suspension of seven old nuclear reactors is being filled by a jump in imports from neighbouring countries, the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) said Monday.

In the wake of Japan’s nuclear crisis following the devastating tsunami more than three weeks ago, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the reactors would be closed for three months and the government would conduct a review of nuclear policy and safety over the same period.

Including an overhaul on an eighth atomic plant, Germany is short of 120 gigawatt hours of electricity per day, BDEW boss Hildegard Müller said in Hannover.

“Since March 17 there has been an excess of imports. The electricity currents from France and the Czech Republic have doubled,” she said, adding that exports to the Netherlands and Switzerland have been halved.

Müller urged the government to use the three-month moratorium to reach a “consensus between the parties, between the states and federal government, activist groups and of course the energy sector.”

This should also include the expertise of the energy industry, she added.

Meanwhile electricity prices have increased by between 10 and 12 percent on the wholesale market, she said.

Last week, energy company RWE became the first firm to launch a legal challenge against the Merkel government’s suspension of the older nuclear reactors.

The firm is fighting the temporary closure of Biblis A plant in Hesse. Renowned legal experts had doubts whether the closure was legal, a company spokesman said last Thursday.

The government used the nuclear energy law to back up its decision. According to this law, authorities can call for a suspension if there is deemed to be a danger to life, health or material assets.

Merkel was widely criticized for the suspension, which was a U-turn on her previous policy of extending the lifetimes of nuclear reactors by an average of 12 years. Critics accused her of playing politics ahead of key state elections.


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