The energy crisis in Germany is getting worse. For fear of a cold winter, Union politicians in particular are now making a U-turn regarding the planned nuclear phase-out.
The coming months could be uncomfortable, if not pretty bad. In autumn and winter, there is a threat of cold apartments and shut down industry. And that is if Russia’s President Putin does not reopen the Nord Stream 1 pipeline after maintenance.
Economics Minister Robert Habeck recently said in an interview: “We have to prepare for the worst”. And after the Greens declared emergency level 2, the voices became louder, demanding the same for nuclear reactors in addition to the already planned extension of the operating times for coal-fired power plants. Union politicians in particular are making astonishing about-faces.
Eleven years ago, the Bundestag sealed the end of nuclear power for Germany. All nuclear power plants in Germany are to be shut down by the end of 2022. The CDU/CSU parliamentary group has now introduced an amendment to Parliament in which they are calling for an extension of the deadline for the three nuclear power plants that are still in operation.
This is astonishing, because even if the decision to phase out nuclear power was made under Schröder’s red-green government, it was the union with Angela Merkel after the reactor catastrophe in Fukushima in 2011 that sealed the nuclear phase-out. At that time, many top politicians from the CDU and CSU were still pleading with conviction for the nuclear phase-out – and are now changing their minds again.
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Today Söder is again in favor of a change of course: “In this situation it is completely pointless to switch off the nuclear power that supplies electricity for 10 million households,” writes Markus Söder on Twitter. According to Söder, other countries have secured their supplies: “Where is the replacement gas for D?” he complains on Twitter. Söder’s often-repeated solution to the gas crisis: leave nuclear power networks connected to the grid to save gas, which then does not have to be used to generate electricity.
Amazing: In 2011, Dobrindt still described the decision to phase out 2022 as a number of “reason and responsibility”, reported the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” at the time can overcome, then a changeover is also conceivable in a decade.”
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His colleague Christian Dürr, FDP parliamentary group leader, behaved in a similarly contradictory manner: he voted no to the Union’s amendment, while he called for a rethink of the energy transition on Deutschlandfunk. “Let’s please think about letting the nuclear power plants run longer,” Dürr said on Deutschlandfunk.
Should emergency level 3 be declared, the traffic light coalition will probably have to hold the debate about the extension of the nuclear power plants again. While the Greens and SPD are clearly opposed to the extension, the coalition partner FDP sees the extension as a possible solution to the energy bottlenecks. What remains unnoticed by the Union is that it is not electricity that is lacking, but gas. Experts agree that nuclear energy could not solve the gas bottleneck.
An analysis by the consulting firm Energy Brainpool came to the conclusion that continuing to operate all three remaining nuclear power plants in Germany would only replace 8.7 terawatt hours of gas consumption, which corresponds to around one percent.
A model by the Federal Association of Energy and Water Management e.V. even comes to only 3 terawatt hours. In addition, the necessary safety checks of the nuclear power plants are missing, which cannot be made up for in the remaining months.
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