Germany paved the way on Tuesday to extend the operation of its last two nuclear power plants this winter, blaming France for its poor network. In early September, the Social Democratic Party government Olaf ScholesEnvironmentalists are already bracing for the eventual shutdown of two of the country’s three nuclear reactors, scheduled for the end of 2022. It was a question of keeping them “on hold” until the spring of 2023 and only using them. Only a last resort in the event of a power emergency.
But Berlin is now going further, confirming the situation with its French neighbours. nucleus Its main source of supply, he said, “is not doing well and has deteriorated significantly over the past few weeks”.
In early September, the German economy minister, the ecologist Robert Habeck, was tasked with announcing the decision. “As the situation in France is worse than expected, the Isar 2 power station (near Munich) and Neckerwestheim (south-west) may be connected in the first quarter of 2023” to ensure energy supply in Germany, he told a press conference.
Tension in the alliance
“As the minister responsible for energy security (…) I consider it necessary,” said Mr. Habeck said. A difficult position because his party, the Green Party, has always fought against nuclear in a country that has long opposed this form of energy.
About 25 of the 56 reactors in the French fleet are unavailable due to maintenance operations or corrosion problems. EDF He promised a phased reopening by February. Therefore, explained the Ministry of Economy in Berlin, “Germany has a shortage of electricity modules that partially compensate for electricity from gas-fired power plants”.
Based on the electricity outlook for winter given by France on September 14, Mr. Habeck assessed the situation as worse than expected so far. “In the past, operator EDF’s claims have often proved too positive,” he confirmed.
Christian Toure, head of the Liberal parliamentary group, welcomed the economy minister’s announcement: “It’s a step in the right direction”, he told the Funke media group. “It’s good to see the Greens moving in the right direction,” he added.
The offer is a fresh blow for the environment minister, whose friction with his finance counterpart, liberal Christian Lindner, is becoming increasingly apparent. The latter also asks for the repeal of a new tax gas Effective October 1.
The levy would add hundreds of euros to household bills, and gas importers would have to pay higher prices for buying Russian gas to replace it.
The German press says the economy minister has lost the battle and the tax will be lifted this week. In an interview with D-online news site, Mr. Lindner appealed for “continuous supply of power to the three German power plants”.
So far, the German government has given up on expanding the third and last nuclear power plant still in operation at Emsland (Lower Saxony), located in the north of the country. It is also not placed in a “standby” state.