German politicians divided over closing of last nuclear power plants – DW – 04/16/2023

Germany’s last three nuclear power plants – Isar 2 in Bavaria, Emsland in Lower Saxony and Neckerwestheim 2 in Baden-Württemberg – went offline on Saturday after six decades, the energy companies that operate the reactors said.

before the hour Germany’s three remaining nuclear power plants were shut downMany left-wing and center-left lawmakers and environmentalists applauded the move, while pro-business and conservative politicians warned that the country’s energy security was at risk.

The shutdown of the nuclear power plants was delayed by months due to the energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

What do German politicians think?

Ricardo Long, chair of the Green Party’s climate-friendly parliamentary group, wrote on Twitter that the end of nuclear power “marks a firm entry into the age of renewable energies” that will allow the current generation to “finally leave our children with a clear conscience.”

His party tweeted that Germany already produces half of its electricity from renewable sources and “want to break 80% by 2030”.

The Greens said affordable renewable energies would “secure energy supplies, protect the climate, make Germany independent of autocrats and lay the foundations for a strong economy and good jobs”.

The parliamentary group of President Olaf Scholz’s centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) tweeted: “Goodbye nuclear power! Goodbye unsafe, unclean, uneconomical energy policy!”

A separate tweet showed an image of a collapsing nuclear power plant cooling tower.

On the other hand, the business-focused Free Democratic Party (FDP) parliamentary group, which is in coalition with the SPD and the Green Party, made it clear on Twitter that it was unhappy with the exit.

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Party leader Christian Lindner, who is Germany’s finance minister, wrote on Twitter that while the future is renewable energy, “in the meantime, we must protect our supply as long as there is enough capacity.”

Lindner said Germany would keep the last three power plants in reserve if it were up to him.

Right-wing parties are describing a ‘black day’ for Germany

Opposition conservative politicians were also disappointed, including Markus Soder, the premier of the southern state of Bavaria, who told the Focus Online website on Thursday that he wanted the plants to remain online and three more to be “in reserve”.

He accused the coalition government’s decision of being “purely ideological” and said it was “a grave mistake to get out of nuclear power at this time”.

His party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), tweeted that the shutdown was a “black day for citizens, industry and climate protection in Germany”.

Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader Friedrich Merz insisted on Friday that the last three nuclear power plants were “the safest in the world”.

“No other country has reacted to the war in Ukraine and the dire energy supply situation like Germany,” Merz told public broadcaster NDR.

Business leaders, including Peter Adrian, head of the German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), called on the government to “expand energy supply, not restrict it” in light of possible shortages and high prices.

Greenpeace has organized celebrations for the nuclear transition in Berlin and MunichImage: Nadja Wohlleben/REUTERS

Greenpeace seeks answers to nuclear waste disposal

Ahead of the shutdown, Martin Kaiser, executive director of Greenpeace Germany, urged ministers to ensure the safe disposal of the accumulated nuclear waste, which he said would remain radioactive for millions of years.

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Greenpeace has organized celebrations to mark the switch-off of nuclear power at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and in the southern city of Munich.

How did Germany’s nuclear discharge unfold?

A decade ago, then-Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to close Germany’s nuclear reactors, prompted by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan and the 1986 Chernobyl accident in Ukraine.

Image: Heiko Becker/REUTERS

But the remaining three plants are slated to close by December 2022 Temporarily stopped After Russia invaded Ukraine last winter, gas and electricity prices rose in Europe due to the energy crisis.

The deadline for closing the plants has been moved to April 15.

The result goes against the plans Many other countriesLike USA, China, France and Britain Counting nuclear power To replace planet-warming fossil fuels. too Japan backed out of the plans Nuclear power should be phased out.

Defenders of nuclear power argue that it produces far fewer greenhouse gas emissions and helps Germany achieve its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2045.

“By phasing out nuclear power, Germany is committing itself to coal and gas because there is never enough wind or sun to shine,” said Rainer Kludt, head of the pro-nuclear non-profit association Nuklearia.

The German government has acknowledged that, in the short term, it may have to rely more on polluting coal and gas to meet renewable energy needs.

But Economy Minister Robert Habeck insisted energy supplies would remain secure even after the last reactor shut down.

Meanwhile, two-thirds of Germans want to extend the life of nuclear reactors or connect old plants back to the grid, while only 28% support going off the grid, a survey by the Forsa Institute showed earlier this week.

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“I think it’s certainly fed to a large extent by the fear that the supply situation is simply not safe,” Forsa analyst Peter Matuschek told the Reuters news agency.

kb,mm/sms (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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