German economy minister says Germany still set to close down last remaining three nuclear reactors, amid energy supply crisis

During an event on May 31, 2022, Germany’s economy minister Robert Habeck said that it would not be an option to prolong the life of Germany’s last three remaining nuclear reactors amid an energy supply crisis because “It would help too little at too high a cost all-round,”.

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Habeck said that the benefits of nuclear energy offsetting the energy Germany takes in from Russia would not outweigh the risks nuclear has citing long lead times for fuel rods and cyber security threats.

Earlier this year, Germany shut down three of its last six nuclear power stations. Germany’s economy minister Robert Habeck said the country would not be looking at keeping the last three nuclear reactors open in Germany regardless of the current energy supply crisis. 

In January, three nuclear power stations located in Brokdorf, Grohnde, and Gundremmingen were shut down due to the German government’s decision to speed up the phasing out of nuclear power.

The last remaining three nuclear power stations are located in Neckarwestheim, Essenbach, and Emsland and are set to shut down by the end of 2022.

In March, Elon Musk said in an interview with Welt that Germany should “not shut down the nuclear power plants that are running,” adding that they should actually “restart the ones that are already shut down.”

“They can supply energy again the fastest. Shutting down nuclear power plants now is crazy. Especially in a place where no natural disasters happen. In a place where major earthquakes or tsunamis occur, that’s more of a valid question.”

He said that “As long as there is no massive risk of natural disasters- which is not the case in Germany- there really is no danger from nuclear power.”

Earlier in March 2022, Elon Musk tweeted out a similar warning to Europe regarding shutting down nuclear power plants.

He said, “Hopefully, it is now extremely obvious that Europe should restart dormant nuclear power stations and increase power output of existing ones,”.

In the decision to shut down the last remaining nuclear power plants, the former German chancellor Merkel was swayed by protests in the country over the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011 to begin the phase-out of nuclear energy.

Recently, Germany has taken aim at nuclear energy as the EU is seeking approval from EU countries and European Parliament for its new plan to label natural gas and nuclear energy as climate-friendly investments.

In a statement, Germany’s environment ministry and its economy and climate ministry said that the German government “has expressed its opposition to the taxonomy rules on nuclear power. This ‘no’ is an important political signal that makes clear: Nuclear energy is not sustainable and should therefore not be part of the taxonomy,”.

Adding that this means the German government would be voting in council “to object to the EU Commission’s delegated legal act,” which would label nuclear as a climate-friendly investment.

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