"Switch off as soon as possible": The future of Isar 2 is open again due to leakage

A defective valve in the Isar 2 reactor gets the nuclear debate rolling again.

"Switch off as soon as possible": The future of Isar 2 is open again due to leakage

A defective valve in the Isar 2 reactor gets the nuclear debate rolling again. Even if the damage is probably not dangerous, it should now steer the discussion in a different direction. The environment and economic ministries want to reconsider the reserve operation of the power plant.

After it became known that a valve was damaged in the Isar 2 nuclear power plant in Bavaria, the Bund Naturschutz (BN) called for the immediate shutdown of the nuclear reactor. "The shocking information from the nuclear power plant operator Preussen-Elektra about damage to a broken valve in the reactor that apparently was either not discovered or was covered up confirms the fears of the Federal Nature Conservation Agency: the nuclear power plant is not safe and must be shut down as soon as possible," said the state chairman of the BN , Richard Mergner.

Referring to the state government led by Prime Minister Markus Söder, Mergner said: "Instead of wasting their energy in distracted discussions about the continued operation of nuclear power plants, the CSU and Free Voters should finally decide on a committed Bavarian energy saving concept and the massive acceleration of the expansion of wind and solar energy, apply and implement."

On Monday it became known that the operator of Isar 2, Preussen-Elektra, had informed the Federal Environment Ministry in writing that the power plant would have to be shut down for around a week in October at the latest due to a leak if it was to be planned as an energy reserve beyond the end of the year . A later repair is not possible because the reactor can no longer be started up after the standstill due to the reduced performance of the fuel rods, the operator said.

The Federal Ministry for the Environment and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs then declared that it had to be checked again whether Isar 2 could continue to be used as a reserve power plant, as previously planned, which could continue to supply electricity in addition to the pile in Neckarwestheim in Baden-Württemberg until April. According to the operator, the repair is not necessary if the nuclear power plant should end power operation at the end of the year, as was the case with the decision to phase out nuclear power. A spokesman for the Bavarian Ministry of the Environment had classified the case on Monday evening as "safe from a safety point of view". He is known to the country's regulator. "It is not a reportable event." Safety has top priority. "The Bavarian Ministry of the Environment is therefore sticking to the position confirmed by a report by TÜV Süd: continued operation of the Isar 2 nuclear power plant would be possible from a safety point of view. A speedy change to the Atomic Energy Act by the federal government would be required to create the legal basis."

The statement by TÜV Süd had also caused a lot of criticism on the part of the federal government, since it neither met the criteria of an expert opinion nor were the conclusions drawn legitimate. Since Russia has been delivering less gas to Germany as part of its war of aggression against Ukraine, there has been discussion about longer operation of the three remaining nuclear power plants. Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck plans to keep two power plants operational until mid-April in the event of bottlenecks: Isar 2 and Neckarwestheim. After the nuclear phase-out decided under the former Chancellor Angela Merkel, all German nuclear power plants should actually go offline by the end of the year.

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