Union wants the results of the nuclear stress test presented


Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant in Baden-Württemberg

The Neckarwestheim 2 reactor (on the right in the picture) is to be shut down at the end of the year.

(Photo: IMAGO/avanti)

Berlin The dispute between the traffic light coalition and the Union about the use of nuclear power continues despite a positive stress test for the nuclear reactors. While the Ministry of Economy is using the results of the test, which the Handelsblatt reported on Thursday, apparently still wants to edit, the Union demands immediate publication. “We as members of parliament must also know the facts in their purest form,” he said CDU-Vice Andreas Jung.

The four operators of the electricity transmission networks, 50Hertz, Amprion, Tennet and TransnetBW, presented the results of the stress test to the Federal Ministry of Economics on Wednesday. Accordingly, the continued operation of two of the three nuclear power plants still in operation beyond the turn of the year could make sense.

We speak of stretching operation when the existing fuel rods are used for a few weeks or up to three months beyond their planned service life – with a continuously decreasing output. In this respect, the test only addresses the situation in winter 2022/23.

From the point of view of the ministry, these conclusions of the transmission system operators do not yet represent “the final stress test result”. In government circles it was said that there were still inquiries.

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Support for continued operation came from the industry. This could not only increase security of supply, but also have price-dampening effects. “When the prices are so high and the price curves so steep, even a relatively small amount of secured capacity has a big impact,” he said eon-Boss Leonhard Birnbaum the “Spiegel”. An extension of the term “would probably already have a significant effect”.

According to current legislation, all three reactors must be shut down at the end of the year. Continued operation would require an amendment to the Atomic Energy Act, which the Bundestag would have to decide.

Test results bent?

Such a continued operation is particularly controversial in the party of the leading Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) and apparently difficult to enforce. The opposition suspects that the test results could still be adjusted to suit political opportunities. CDU-Mann Jung warned against “political processing by the ministries”.

Jung demanded that the minister personally answer questions about the conclusions that Habeck drew from the test results at the next meeting of the Bundestag’s climate and energy committee.

Clear statements are now needed on the continued operation of the remaining nuclear power plants beyond the end of the year. “Secure capacities must not be dispensed with in view of an imminent emergency in winter and the traffic lights must no longer rely solely on climate-damaging coal,” said the CDU deputy leader.

Habeck commissioned the operators of the power transmission grids in mid-July to carry out the test. In doing so, the minister was reacting to political pressure to use all available energy sources in view of the bottlenecks in Russian gas.

Robert Habeck

Habeck commissioned the operators of the power transmission grids in mid-July to carry out the test.


(Photo: dpa)

A first stress test in the spring came to the conclusion that the security of the power supply would also be guaranteed if the three remaining reactors – Emsland, Neckarwestheim 2 and Isar 2 – were switched off at the end of the year, as decided in 2011 by the then Merkel government.

That would mean continued operation of the kiln

For a long time, the electricity companies that operate the German nuclear reactors reacted skeptically to the possibility of longer operation. Well said though eonCEO Birnbaum in the “Spiegel” interview: Germany has an electricity problem that is not just a result of the tense gas market. “We lack secure base load capacity, we lack power plants. The electricity market is tight.”

Should the federal government decide to extend nuclear reactors such as the Eon power plant Isar 2 in Bavaria, Birnbaum was open to talks with politicians. “In any case, it shouldn’t fail because of us.” Eon can continue to operate the power plant technically safely, said the manager. “A facility that is safe on December 31 would be safe the day after.”

With regard to the price-dampening effects of an extension of the term, however, there are also very cautious estimates. According to calculations by the Öko-Institut, continued operation of the two nuclear power plants Isar 2 and Neckarwestheim 2 would only reduce wholesale electricity prices by 0.5 to 0.8 percent.

This value is “not significant,” said Felix Matthes from the Öko-Institut. Therefore, electricity price effects could not be a reason for stretching.

More: Despite the energy crisis, the Greens are sticking to the coal phase-out in 2030



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