Germany wants to keep two of the three existing nuclear power plants in reserve until mid-April 2023, and plans to shut down the third by the end of the year.
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Monday evening that stress tests showed that the Neckarwestheim 2 nuclear power plants in Baden-Württemberg and the Isar 2 in Bavaria could contribute to Germany’s energy security during the winter due to uncertain gas supplies from Russia. According to Habeck, keeping the two power plants in reserve also means that Germany will disconnect all reactors from the grid in accordance with the long-term plan this December.
“Both nuclear power plants Isar 2 and Neckarwestheim should still remain available until mid-April 2023 to provide an additional contribution to the power grid in southern Germany during the winter if necessary,” Habeck said in a statement. “At the same time, this means that all three nuclear power plants that are still connected to the grid in Germany will be properly disconnected from the grid at the end of 2022,” he added.
The third nuclear power plant, which is Emsland in Lower Saxony, will not be included in the temporary network reserve, so it is expected to be permanently shut down by the end of this year.
At the press conference, Habeck emphasized that Germany has enough energy available and that it has a strong energy system to get through the winter.
The previous government of conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel already decided to end the operation of nuclear power plants in Germany. The impetus for this was the nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima, Japan in 2011. Keeping nuclear power plants in operation is a controversial issue for the Greens, who are one of the coalition partners of the Social Democrats (SPD) of current Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Economy Minister Habeck is also a member of the Greens. Part of the coalition are the liberal Free Democrats (FDP), who, on the other hand, support the extension of the life of nuclear power plants.