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Germany: Union CDU/CSU and FDP want return to nuclear power

Leading Union (CDU/CSU) and FDP politicians want Germany to return to nuclear power. They argue that this would be the answer to the country’s budget crisis and the weakening condition of German industry, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) portal reported on Saturday.

The politicians are demanding that recently shut-down reactors be restarted and that preparations be made to build modern small reactors.

In an interview with FAZ, Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) stressed that “fundamental political changes are needed now, especially in the area of energy.” Germany’s existing reactors should “immediately” be restarted for the duration of the crisis, he said.

According to Söder, the transition to more modern, smaller, and more efficient reactors should also be accelerated so that Germany can remain competitive while sticking to its climate goals.

As FAZ pointed out, small nuclear reactors (SMRs) in Europe are of interest to Poland, the Netherlands, and France, among others.

Jens Spahn (CDU) described the shutdown of Germany’s latest reactors “in the middle of an energy crisis” as a “serious traffic light error.”

“These power plants must return to operation as soon as possible,” the politician added. He also advocated the construction of the latest generation of nuclear power plants, as “Germany should participate in this.” As Spahn stressed, “nuclear power is experiencing a renaissance around the world,” and the Scholz government is “ignoring the signs of the times.”

“It is very urgent to restart nuclear power plants,” Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) said. “The energy transition has failed and must be started anew,” he noted in comments to FAZ.

The leader of the FDP parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Christian Dürr, stressed that Germany “should not give up on nuclear energy.” “To approach this issue responsibly, modern reactor concepts such as SMRs should be considered,” Dürr added.

Torsten Herbst, one of the FDP’s leaders, called for a “broader return to nuclear power,” arguing that “Germany should follow the example of its European neighbors.”

Germany shutting down its nuclear reactors

As FAZ recalled, Germany has recently shut down five reactors – Isar 2, Brokdorf, Emsland, Neckarwestheim, and Grohnde. According to some experts, it is cheaper to modernize these plants than to replace them with gas-fired power plants built from scratch.

Nuclear power plants are not cheap. However, a system combining reliable nuclear power with electricity from renewable sources is cheaper than continuing the current energy transition, experts interviewed by FAZ admitted. In doing so, they noted that the energy transition is still at an early stage, with coal-fired power plants still in operation.

“Many Eastern European countries are planning to build new nuclear power plants, including Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic. If it wouldn’t pay off, why would they do it?” FAZ concluded.

Source: TVP World