Germany extends the life of two nuclear power plants and blames France | War in Ukraine

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Germany extends the life of two nuclear power plants and blames France | War in Ukraine

Half of the French nuclear fleet is shut down, forcing Germany to produce more energy, including by relaunching its own reactors.

Germany paved the way on Tuesday for extending the activity of its last two nuclear power plants this winter, blaming France for its poor network, amid an energy shortage orchestrated by Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.

At the beginning of September, the government of Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, in which ecologists sit, had already returned to the final closure of two of the country's three reactors scheduled for the end of 2022.

It was then a question of keeping them on standby until the spring of 2023 and using them only as a last resort only, in the event of an energy emergency.

But Berlin is now going further, saying that the situation in its French neighbour, which has always made nuclear power a major source of its supply, was not good and has considerably deteriorated. deteriorated in the past weeks.

As at the beginning of September, it was the German Minister for the Economy, the ecologist Robert Habeck, who fell the task of announcing this decision.

To ensure the energy supply in Germany, the Isar 2 power plant (near Munich) and the Neckarwestheim power plant (southwest) will probably remain connected in the first quarter of 2023, due to the situation in France worse than expected, he said at a press conference.

“As Minister responsible for energy security […] I consider it necessary.

— Robert Habeck, German Economy Minister

A difficult position, because his party, the eVrts, has always fought against the x27;atom in a country that has long been opposed to this form of energy.

Some 25 reactors – out of the 56 in the French fleet – are unavailable due to maintenance operations or corrosion problems. EDF has promised their gradual restart by February.

Therefore, there is a shortage of electricity volumes, which Germany compensates by part with electricity from gas-fired power plants, explained the Ministry of Economics in Berlin.

Relying on the electricity scenarios for the #x27;winter, presented by France on September 14, Mr. Habeck considered that the situation was worse than what had been expected so far.

Driving the point home, he said that in the past, the claims of the operator EDF had often turned out to be too positive.

The environmentalist party of Mr. Habeck is under pressure from the Liberals (FDP), the third party in the ruling coalition.

Liberal parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr welcomed the Economy Minister's announcement: It's a step in the right direction, he told the media group funky. It's good to see the Greens moving in the right direction, he added.

This concession is another blow for the environmental minister, whose frictions with his finance colleague, the liberal Christian Lindner, are more and more obvious.

The latter also calls on him to repeal a new tax on gas to come into force October 1.

This tax, which would add several hundred euros to household bills, must be paid to gas importers to help them bear the exorbitant prices of purchases intended to replace Russian gas.

The German press claims that the Minister of Economy is losing the battle and that the tax will be abolished this week.

In an interview with the T-online news site, Mr. Lindner also pleaded for the three German power stations to remain connected to supply electricity.

So far, the German government has given up on extending the third and last nuclear power plant still in operation, in Emsland (Lower Saxony), located in the north of the country. It will also not be placed on standby.

Nuclear power currently produces 6% of net electricity production in Germany. The nuclear phase-out timetable was decided by Angela Merkel after the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011.

Faced with the threat of a shortage of nuclear power, energy this winter, the German government has already decided to increase the use of coal, a particularly polluting energy.

As in other countries of the; EU, the rise in prices is fueling public concern and calls for demonstrations, mainly on the initiative of the far right or the far left, are worrying the German government.< /p>

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