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'Nuclear power is a dead horse in Germany': Scholz rejects reopening plants

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'Nuclear power is a dead horse in Germany': Scholz rejects reopening plants
File image of the Isar II nuclear power plant in Bavaria. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Armin Weigel

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has unequivocally rejected the liberal FDP's proposal to halt the dismantling of nuclear power plants in Germany.

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"The issue of nuclear power is a dead horse in Germany," he said in an interview with public radio broadcaster Deutschlandfunk on Saturday.

The Chancellor (Social Democrats - SPD) also contradicted the notion that the use of nuclear energy remains a contentious issue within the three-party government made up of his party alongside the Free Democratic Party and the Greens.

"Nuclear power is over. It is no longer used in Germany. The phase-out has been enshrined in law," he stressed. 

The FDP however appeared unfazed by the Chancellor's rejection over the weekend. Michael Kruse, the energy policy spokesperson for the party's parliamentary faction, said: "Germany should not unnecessarily limit further options. Forward-looking policy should respond to scarcity by expanding supply. The entire government should work on this instead of managing scarcity with subsidies."

On Friday, the FDP faction passed a resolution calling for a halt to the dismantling of the remaining nuclear power plants. This was intended to keep the door open for a return to nuclear power. The CDU, as the largest opposition party, is going even further.

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CDU leader Friedrich Merz recently announced that, in the event of taking office, he would "immediately put the decommissioned nuclear power plants back into operation."

READ ALSO: FDP calls for 'halt' to social welfare reforms and dismantling of nuclear power in Germany

But Scholz, unlike the FDP, does not consider preserving the shut-down power plants to be practical. "The facts are that with the end of nuclear power, decommissioning began, and everything that can be said about nuclear power in Germany always revolved around the construction or quasi-construction of power plants," he said.

Building new nuclear power plants in Germany would require 15 years and cost 15 to 20 billion each.

The phase-out of nuclear energy was based on a decision made during Chancellor Angela Merkel's time in office (CDU). It was originally supposed to be completed by the end of 2022.

Due to the energy shortage following the curtailment of Russian gas deliveries to Germany, the deadline was extended until April 15th this year after lengthy disputes between the Greens and the FDP and an ultimatum from the Chancellor. This officially marked the end of the era of nuclear energy in Germany.

READ ALSO: Germany ends nuclear era as last reactors power down

The FDP made its proposal last week against the backdrop of persistently high electricity costs, which are burdening the economy and, especially, energy-intensive industries.

The SPD and the Greens are calling for a state-subsidized industrial electricity price to relieve companies that are particularly affected by high energy costs. The FDP is against the plan and points out that the shutdown of nuclear power plants has contributed to high electricity prices.

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Lyssa in Mainz 2023/09/04 11:18
It's really too bad that Germany fell prey to the hysteria. Next generation nuclear plants are the only way we, as humans, cut greenhouse gasses to almost nothing and scale electrical demand to world economies. They are carbon free and safer than any other energy source per capita.

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