The environmental association BUND has sharply criticized the call by the deputy chairman of the Union parliamentary group, Jens Spahn, to the SPD to agree to an extension of the service life of the Emsland nuclear power plant in Lower Saxony. “In view of the justified concerns of many people about securing the gas supply on the one hand and a climate-friendly energy supply on the other, such party political intrigues are inappropriate. The CDU is obviously pursuing a salami tactic, in which sometimes a stretching operation, sometimes an extension of the service life is demanded,” said Susanne Gerstner, state chair of the BUND Lower Saxony, on Wednesday.
Useless continued operation
This means that the nuclear phase-out will be terminated in installments. The environmental organization welcomed the consistent attitude of the Lower Saxony Environment Minister Olaf Lies (SPD), who spoke out against a lifetime extension and a stretching operation for the Emsland nuclear power plant. “I’m very surprised that the CDU and FDP can’t get away from a backward-looking nuclear energy debate. Or they are misinformed. That there has recently been a comprehensive safety check at the Lingen nuclear power plant and that new fuel elements have been used – as claimed by CDU state chief Bernd Althusmann – is simply wrong,” said Lies of the German Press Agency.
Rather, the current core consists exclusively of fuel elements that have been irradiated for a long time. And that is also the crux: “With old, almost burned-out fuel rods, a longer service life makes no sense,” emphasized Lies. Lingen already has to go into the so-called stretching operation in November and will only produce reduced performance by the end of the year.
Continued operation beyond the end of the year is nonsensical for a number of reasons: First, during a necessary downtime of at least 14 days, the fuel elements would have to be rearranged again, and further work might have to be carried out. And even then, the nuclear power plant would only work with ever-reduced output until April at the latest. But April would definitely be the end of the fuel elements. In addition, the Atomic Energy Act would have to be changed for continued operation beyond the turn of the year. But only the results of the federal government’s stress test would show whether the additional output of the nuclear power plants was needed.
give up the blockade
Spahn said on Tuesday when visiting the power plant in Lingen, “this politically motivated blockade must finally be abandoned. Germany and Europe urgently need this electricity in winter”. According to the operator RWE, stretching operations are possible until April 2023. CDU leader Friedrich Merz recently called for the three nuclear power plants Isar 2 in Bavaria, Emsland in Lower Saxony and Neckarwestheim 2 in Baden-Württemberg, which remained on the grid until December 31, to be allowed to run beyond the turn of the year 2023/24.
Lower Saxony’s FDP head of state, Stefan Birkner, criticizes the Greens and SPD: “I think it’s ideologically motivated, so as not to look bad in the state elections, and not factually justified. I think that’s irresponsible,” he told the German Press Agency in Hanover. He accused the Greens and SPD of playing for time. The state elections in Lower Saxony are on October 9th.
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