Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) made a new attempt to enforce the continued use of the remaining nuclear power plants: In an interview with the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” on Tuesday, he suggested outsourcing the decision to an independent commission of experts. In this way, political disputes about the topic can be avoided.

According to current legislation, the last nuclear power plants in Germany must be switched off by April 15 at the latest. The FDP expressly does not want to commit itself to not extending the terms again. The Liberals are thus provoking the coalition partners SPD and Greens, for whom an extension of the term is an absolutely hot topic.

According to Wissing, he now wants to defuse the political debate. “If we don’t want to discuss it politically, then we have to clarify it scientifically,” he said in the newspaper interview. “We don’t need any political arguments or dogmatism now, we need a professional answer to the question of how we can ensure a stable and affordable energy supply and at the same time achieve our climate protection goals.” This answer could be given by an independent commission of experts.

In general, the FDP argues that shutting down the remaining nuclear power plants in times of high energy prices is absurd. The transport minister is also concerned about the planned shutdown because his department will only be able to meet the statutory climate protection goals with many more electric cars.

According to calculations by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the CO2 balance of electric cars deteriorates significantly when the nuclear power plants are switched off and, in addition to electricity from wind power and solar systems, primarily coal-based electricity is used for charging.

“We can’t do anything to protect the climate with electromobility in the transport sector if we use coal-fired electricity for charging,” said Wissing. “If people realize that e-cars are not only expensive, but also bad for the climate, the transformation will become a fiasco.”

The attitude of the FDP found more applause in the opposition CDU than in the coalition partners. CDU deputy head Andreas Jung called on the federal government in the Funke newspapers on Tuesday to at least prepare for a further extension of the lifespan of the remaining nuclear power plants until 2024: “It doesn’t make sense that the traffic lights will reactivate climate-damaging coal piles at least until 2024, but the CO2-saving nuclear power plants will definitely wants to switch off in spring 2023.”

The Greens in the Bundestag rejected all calls for a further extension of the terms. “Any further attempt to bring an extension of running times into the debate with new flimsy justifications will fail and waste energy unnecessarily,” said parliamentary group leader Julia Verlinden to the Funke newspapers.

The AfD reiterated its demand for an extension of the term, but rejected Minister Wissing’s proposal to do so. “Wissing’s call for a commission of experts may well be intentional, but there’s no time for such gimmicks,” said Leif-Erik Holm, economic policy spokesman for the AfD parliamentary group. Germany needs “a quick decision in favor of nuclear power”.