BERLIN – Germany’s top conservative politicians will visit one of the country’s last remaining nuclear plants on Thursday as part of efforts to urge the government to implement a plan to pull out of power nuclear power amid growing concerns about a potential energy crisis due to Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Germany is preparing to become one of the countries hardest hit by European efforts to phase out Russian fossil fuels to punish Moscow for the invasion. That has prompted some parties – particularly the centre-right Christian Democrats, which are part of the opposition, and the pro-business Liberal Democrats, one of the government’s coalition parties – to push Germany to maintain operated its last three nuclear power plants.
In 2011, Chancellor Angela Merkel decided to cut down on the country’s nuclear power after an earthquake and tsunami in Japan led to overheating and explosions at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Thursday’s visit by Martin Söder, leader of the southern Bavarian state, and Friedrich Merz, head of the Christian Democrats, to the Bavarian Isar 2 factory comes after Mrs. Merkel’s successor, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, suggests that he may be willing to reverse her decision.
Mr Scholz said on Wednesday that commissioning the last three nuclear plants in Germany before the decommissioning date of December 31, 2022, “could make sense” given the current situation. He stressed that any such move would not be dictated by his government but rather by a series of stress tests on Germany’s power system to see if plants are needed and whether can they operate safely after the closing date? .
The Germans are one of the most cautious countries in Europe about nuclear energy. In the wake of signs that the nuclear energy issue was controversial in the country, leaders from his own party and coalition partners almost immediately hit back at his remarks.
“We will not reconsider phasing out nuclear energy,” the leader of the Social Democratic Party, Saskia Esken, said on Wednesday. Annalena Baerbock, Green’s secretary of state, said extending the life of power plants “is not an option”.
Scholz emphasized on Wednesday that keeping the three nuclear plants open was mostly to meet the needs of the Bavarian region. Home to companies driving German industry, Bavaria could face a severe energy shortage that could be alleviated by the resumption of the Isar 2 plant.
Mr. Söder said before the Isar 2 visit that Mr. Scholz’s government was moving too slowly. He argued that the government, which has been in power since December, was “hesitating for too long.”
“Why half-heartedly?” “We need to decide now,” Mr Söder told German news agency DPA.