Longer nuclear lifetimes against the energy crisis? For the Union bosses, the answer is clear: yes. Söder and Merz want continued operation until at least 2024. And are urging the Bundestag to make a timely decision on this.
Bavaria's Prime Minister Markus Söder and opposition leader Friedrich Merz have called for the last three nuclear power plants to continue operating until 2024. "Germany is in an energy emergency," said Söder after a joint visit to the Isar II nuclear power plant in Lower Bavaria. In winter, you have to reckon not only with gas, but also with electricity with a shortage. His idea is not just to keep the reactors running for three months in winter, but at least until 2024. That also means that you have to buy new fuel rods.
CDU boss Merz also said that operation until 2024 was possible. You have to make decisions now: "We have to act quickly." Söder said in the direction of the federal government: "It is time to act and not to lament and not to tactic."
In the view of the two party leaders of the Union, the necessary changes to the law for longer terms must be decided by the Bundestag in August. If you take into account the time for ordering new fuel rods of up to 15 months, it is clear why it is so important to make decisions in August, said Merz. "If we are in September it will be critical, if we are at Christmas it is impossible."
Merz emphasized, just like Söder, that the Union would be ready at any time to come together for important decisions during the parliamentary summer break in the Bundestag. The Union is expressly ready to quickly bring about the corresponding changes in the law, said Merz. "The operation of the nuclear power plant is technically, personally and legally possible." Now it has to be decided whether this is also politically possible.
Isar II is one of three nuclear power plants still connected to the grid in Germany. By the end of 2022, all of them must be switched off according to the current legal situation. Unlike the other reactors, Isar II could still run for several months in 2023 in terms of fuel rods if power is reduced this year. A report by TÜV Süd considers this to be possible in principle.
In the spring, after an examination, the federal government rejected the continued operation of the reactors. However, it has now launched a second so-called stress test for the electricity sector. Results should be available in a few weeks. The security of supply is checked in winter under more stringent assumptions such as shortages in neighboring countries and with special consideration of Bavaria.
Regardless of this, safety aspects must also be taken into account. A major safety check is due for all nuclear power plants, which was already postponed in the course of the nuclear phase-out decision. In addition to the Union, the FDP, as the governing party, has also campaigned for longer terms, at least over the winter. The Greens are skeptical, but do not categorically rule out short-term continued operation.