At the beginning of this year, the roadmap seemed uncontested: as the government of then-Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered in 2011, Germany 2022 began with a firm intention to shut down three nuclear power plants still works in the country year-round. The nuclear disaster at the Japanese Fukushima power plant was the latest event that prompted Germany to slowly bid farewell to an energy source with strong historical opposition. The Chernobyl disaster, the effects of which were felt in Germany, left deep impressions on the public.
When Merkel announced the decision, the plan was clear: gradually shut down nuclear power plants To be an industrial power that meets its energy consumption exclusively with renewable resources until the middle of the 21st century. Until then, gas—especially Russian—and oil had to be complementary sources in the transition to an emissions-free green model. The occupation of Ukraine and Germany’s historical energy dependence on fossil imports from Russia now threaten to delay the plan.
Doubts about abandoning nuclear power were already present in the conservative media and political opposition prior to the current energy crisis. These doubts are now expressed in the tripartite government coalition of the Social Democrats of the SPD, the Greens and the Liberals of the FDP. “It’s not many years, but it looks like we’ll have to get used to the idea of needing nuclear power in 2024 as well.Federal Finance Minister and FDP Chairman Christian Lindner said in an interview with NTV television on Tuesday.
Of the three pillars of the federal government, the FDP has the least ideological problems, with a possible delay in the final shutdown of nuclear power plants. Lindner’s party is already committed to prolonging the use of nuclear power to deal with a possible disruption to Russia’s gas supply via Nord Stream 1. It is in the hands of the Kremlin, which is responding to Western sanctions.
But the ecoliberals of Los Verdes, “Nuclear energy? No thanks” It has been part of its political DNA since its founding in the 1980s. But the energy crisis in Germany is so serious that even the Greens dare not rule out a possible postponement of the nuclear cut.
Green Robert Habeck, the Minister for the Economy and Climate Protection, prefers to wait for the next few months. For now, his ministry plans to present the results of a stress test on the energy supply system in the coming weeks. The stakes of ecological formation will depend on this. The first stress test, carried out between last March and March, enabled Germany to give up nuclear power without jeopardizing supply to homes and industry. However, the crisis created by the reduction of Russian gas in those months was not that severe yet.
The last word of German chancellor, social democrat Olaf Scholz, will be key. A federal government spokesman said this Monday that the president prefers to wait for the results of the stress test. The relatively small weight (6%) that the three nuclear plants represent for the country’s total energy consumption, added to the political cost of a delay in nuclear abandonment, casts doubt on German centre-left parties.