According to a report by "Spiegel", the Federal Ministry of Economics is preparing to extend the operating times for the three remaining German nuclear power plants. The general conditions for the ongoing stress test of security of supply for electricity have been changed in such a way that continued operation beyond the end of the year should appear sensible, the magazine reported.
Accordingly, the four transmission system operators should not only assess the security of supply. They should also comment on whether the extension would help bring down prices on the electricity markets, which have recently risen sharply, the magazine wrote.
Habeck does not want to comment
In addition, "first considerations" would be made in the Ministry of Economic Affairs for a draft law that would legally regulate continued operation. According to current legislation, the three remaining power plants will be taken off the grid at the end of the year. A spokeswoman for the ministry denied a decision on the nuclear power plant question when asked by the news magazine. She also did not confirm a change in the stress test design.
Economics Minister Robert Habeck himself did not want to comment on this at a press conference on the sidelines of the cabinet meeting. All questions would be answered upon submission of the stress test results, he said. According to Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the results of the stress test should be available by the end of August or the beginning of September. On this basis, the government wants to decide whether to continue operating the three nuclear power plants.
Stretch operation would be possible
According to the magazine, at the beginning of the month the federal government asked the three nuclear power plant operators RWE, EnBW and Eon how long the remaining fuel rods could continue to produce electricity. According to the answers, a so-called stretching operation of the nuclear power plant in Lingen with around 70 percent output would be possible until April, the same applies to Neckarwestheim. For the Bavarian nuclear power plant Isar 2, the fuel rods should last until June.
Top politicians of the FDP are already calling for an extension of the term. The Greens reject it, and there are also skeptical voices in the SPD.