The German government has announced that it will keep two nuclear power plants open until the spring instead of closing all of them.
The Neckarwestheim 2 and Isar 2 nuclear reactors will be accessible to Germany “for emergencies” until April, as per an announcement from German Federal Minister for Economics Robert Habeck, a member of the Green Party. There is only one exception: one reactor, the Emsland Nuclear power station located in Lower Saxony, will be shut off by the end this year. The government originally thought of closing all three plants.
Two plants which will remain operational until April will be emergency reserves, meaning that they won't be producing electricity, but staff will remain on the site to ensure the safety standards are adhered to and that they are ready to be operational. Minister Habeck said that it would take approximately a week to make the plant operational and connected to the electricity grid if it is needed to combat shortages, newscaster SWR explains.
Baden-Württemberg Energy and Environment Minister Thekla Walker expressed an opinion on the decision of the federal government to leave the Neckarwestheim plant operating, saying “We will now look very closely at the results and conclusions of the stress test here in Baden-Württemberg. To ensure a secure power supply in the coming winter, it may make sense to keep the two nuclear power plants available should the need arise.”
“We are talking about a limited period of time; we are talking about bridging a difficult time. There will be no re-entry into this immensely expensive high-risk technology,” Walker added.
The change in the government policy on nuclear energy is a result of Russia’s shut down of all natural gas supply via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. The shut down was supposed to last three days but has now turned into an indefinite suspension of natural gas.
This week, a spokesperson from the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov, blamed the sanctions on Russia as the cause of the shutdown, saying that if the sanctions that were imposed when Russia invaded Ukraine were lifted, the supply of gas would be restored. “It is these sanctions imposed by the western states that have brought the situation to what we see now,” he stated.