WORLD: Do you really say “Digger” in Hamburg, Ms. Hoppermann?
Franziska Hoppermann: Yes, sometimes.
WORLD: On what occasions? Can you say "Digger" to Olaf Scholz (SPD)?
Hoppermann: It's actually more of a chum. I wouldn't say. Maybe a Juso will say that.
WORLD: You have been in the German Bundestag for a year now. Do you feel the same way, that Berlin doesn't fare so well in relation to real, functioning cities?
Hoppermann: Yes, I can confirm that. I was involved in local politics for a long time and chaired the transport committee in Hamburg's largest district. To be honest, I'm always amazed at how poorly transport policy works in Berlin.
WORLD: What would you change in Berlin?
Hoppermann: The responsibilities between the districts and the state level and the construction site coordination. In Berlin, traffic is blocked without anything happening and without thinking about where traffic can be diverted. That leads to collapse. And I wouldn't do a top coat restoration in the winter.
WORLD: What is that?
Hoppermann: That is when the top layer is milled off and a new layer of tar comes onto the road. Of course, you don't do that in winter when it freezes, because the asphalt then immediately bursts open again. Except in Berlin. They did that here Unter den Linden in December.
"7 Days, 7 Nights" is the political weekly with Frédéric Schwilden. Every Friday he welcomes a political guest to a slightly different weekly review. Subscribe to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Deezer, Google Podcasts or via RSS feed, among others.
WORLD: In Germany there is a lot of talk about nuclear power versus speed limits. what are you for
Hoppermann: For nuclear power.
WORLD: Has it always been like this? Or has your opinion on this changed?
Hoppermann: That has changed as a result of what has happened since February 24th. Because we are running into an energy crisis that is or will be not only a heat crisis, but also an electricity crisis. That's why there shouldn't be any bans on thinking. We have to see how we can also achieve the climate goals and what to do about the crisis. And then you have to think about the extended term of the three remaining nuclear power plants.
WORLD: Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) says it's just a heat crisis.
Hoppermann: That's not true. In May we converted more gas into electricity than ever before.
Hoppermann: I remember that very well. I'm married to a musician and he immediately composed a very beautiful song for it, which moved us a lot.
WORLD: Did Fukushima change your opinion on nuclear power at the time?
Hoppermann: I was previously of the opinion that we have very safe nuclear power plants: we have good safety standards in Germany and it is a cheap source of energy. But Fukushima made me rethink because Japan is also a very reliable and safe country. The fact that such an accident happened there made me think a lot. I thought it was right for the chancellor to step down.
WORLD: Do you know what the deadliest form of energy is in terms of deaths per amount of energy generated?
SPD and Greens in Munich want to extend the life of a nuclear power plant, given the possible gas shortages in winter. "We want to extend, with the fuel rods that are still available," says the Green Katrin habenschaden, mayor in Munich.
WORLD: Coal power. About 170 people die for every terawatt hour of electricity generated from coal. For solar it is 0.44. And it is the least for nuclear power, where it is 0.09. These are figures from the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition, nuclear power has a very good CO2 balance. Why don't we switch off the coal immediately? Why are the Greens so reluctant?
Hoppermann: That also has to do with ideology and where the Greens come from historically. And of course everyone always has in mind that if an accident happens with nuclear energy, the consequences are not so continuous, but very crass. I think we need to keep investing in research. We have not solved the repository issue. In America, people are much further along in terms of what to do with nuclear waste, how to process it. In Germany, we felt like saying goodbye to research on this.
WORLD: Would you live three meters next to a nuclear power plant?
Hoppermann: That's not possible for security reasons.
WORLD: Yes. I was at the Isar 2 power plant this week. There are small plots of land with arbors right next to the power plant's barbed wire fence. I met a man there.
Hoppermann: Was he afraid?
WORLD: Not at all.
Hoppermann: I would also find it more difficult to live under a high-voltage line.
WORLD: Should Germany build new nuclear power plants?
Hoppermann: This is not a discussion that is pending now. I wouldn't give up research anyway.
"Kick-off Politics" is WELT's daily news podcast. The most important topic analyzed by WELT editors and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music or directly via RSS feed.