The German government has announced that it will not be closing all of its nuclear power plants by the end of the year after all, and will keep two open until the spring as the country faces an energy crisis.
The Neckarwestheim 2 and Isar 2 nuclear reactors will remain available to Germany ‘for emergencies’ until April, according to an announcement by German Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck, a member of the Green Party. Only the Emsland nuclear power plant in Lower Saxony will be shut down by the end of the year as the government had initially planned to kill all three remaining plants.
The two plants that will remain online until April will be placed in an emergency reserve situation, which will mean that they will not actively produce electricity but personnel will continue to work at the facilities to ensure safety procedures are being followed and keep them ready to go online. According to Minister Habeck, it would take about a week to get the plants online and connected to the energy grid if they are needed to counter shortages, broadcaster SWR reports.
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Baden-Württemberg Energy and Environment Minister Thekla Walker commented on the federal government’s decision to keep the Neckarwestheim plant open saying, “We will now look very closely at the results and conclusions of the stress test here in Baden-Württemberg. To ensure a secure power supply in the coming winter, it may make sense to keep the two nuclear power plants available should the need arise.”
“We are talking about a limited period of time; we are talking about bridging a difficult time. There will be no re-entry into this immensely expensive high-risk technology,” Walker added.
The shift in government policy regarding nuclear energy comes after Russia halted all natural gas supplies from the Nord Stream 1 pipeline in what was initially a three-day pause but has become an indefinite halt on natural gas.
This week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov blamed the sanctions against Russia for the shut down saying that if the sanctions enacted after the Russian invasion of Ukraine were removed the supply of gas would resume. “It is these sanctions imposed by the western states that have brought the situation to what we see now,” he said.
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