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Environment Minister Lemke: The nuke phase-out cannot be reversed

Environment Minister Lemke: The nuke phase-out cannot be reversed

Steffi Lemke (Greens), Federal Environment Minister, clearly rejects requests to extend operating times for still-existing nuclear power plants. “The isolated calls for extension of the running time are of no use to anyone, but only create unnecessary uncertainty,” said Lemke of the dpa. The nuclear phase out is proceeding as planned, which is a good thing.

“The nuclear phase-out is irreversible. It was decided by broad consensus and is welcomed by the population,” said Lemke. The move is a “great success for the protection of people and the environment” and makes the country safer.

Lemke’s predecessor Svenja Schulze (SPD) had already made it clear again and again that there was no alternative to turning away from nuclear energy in Germany. Schulze, a member of the cross-party Bundestag resolution on the elimination of nuclear power, pointed out the uncontrollable dangers of nuclear power at the close of June this year and the fact that nuclear power was increasingly coming out of old reactors.

The 2011 resolution stipulates that all remaining German nuclear power plants must be shut down by 2022. The Grohnde-, Brokdorf-, and Gundremmingen C nuke power plants will be shut off by December 31, 2021. Emsland, Isar 2, Neckarwestheim 2 or Emsland will close one year later.

Recent demand has increased for Germany’s nuclear power to be revived. If this happens, gaps in the energy supply will result. Lemke said, “There were already fears of blackouts and power shortages when it was decided to phase out nuclear power a decade ago. But these fears did not arise, on the contrary”. The security of supply remains “a valuable commodity for the federal government that will by no means be called into question even if the coal phase-out is significantly accelerated”.

Since March 1984, Unit C at the nuclear power station in Gundremmingen (Bavaria) has been in operation. Block A was operational from 1967 to 1977. Unit B, which went online in 1984, was shut down on December 31, 2017, and Unit C – also commissioned in 1984 – is to follow in 2021. (Image: kkw-gundremmingen.de)

Half of EU member countries have never relied on nuclear energy, including Denmark, Luxembourg and Austria. Belgium has made a decision to leave the EU by 2025. The operators recently stated that the Doel/Tihange nuclear power plant could no longer be run. These nuclear power stations were also criticized by the former German Federal Environmental Minister.

Spain has reached an agreement with the operators of nuclear power plants to phase out. France, which is a proponent of nuclear power, originally wanted a reduction in its share of the electricity supply’s nuclear energy. Recent announcements by President Emmanuel Macron have led to the construction of nuclear power plants. The EU Commission will likely decide next year whether nuclear energy should be included in the climate-friendly investments.

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