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Germany doubts about its definitive abandonment of nuclear energy

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At the beginning of this year, the roadmap seemed indisputable: as the government of the then chancellor had ordered in 2011 Angela Merkel, Germany 2022 started with the firm intention of turning off the three nuclear power plants that still work in the country throughout the year. The nuclear catastrophe at the Japanese Fukushima plant was the latest episode that pushed Germany to slowly say goodbye to a source of Energy with strong historical opposition. the disaster of Chernobylthe effects of which were felt in Germany, left a strong impression on the public.

When Merkel announced the decision, the plan was clear: gradually turn off the nuclear power plants to become a industrial power to cover its energy consumption exclusively through renewable sources towards the middle of this 21st century. The gas – especially Russian – and the Petroleum Until then, they should have been the complementary sources in this transition towards a green model without emissions. The invasion of Ukraine and Germany’s historical energy dependence on fossil fuel imports. Russia they now threaten to delay the plan.

liberal opposition

Doubts about the abandonment of nuclear energy were already present in conservative media and the political opposition before the current energy crisis. Those doubts are now also being raised within the tripartite government coalition made up of the Social Democrats of the SPD, the Greens and the Liberals of the FDP. “This is not many years, but it is likely that we will have to get used to the idea of ​​needing nuclear energy also in 2024”, said the Federal Minister of Finance and president of the FDP on Tuesday in an interview with the NTV television channel. , Christian Lindner.

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Of the three legs of the federal government, the FDP is the party that has the fewest ideological problems with a possible delay in the definitive closure of nuclear power plants. Lindner’s party is already committed to prolonging the use of nuclear energy to deal with a probable cut in the supply of Russian gas through the North Stream 1. The pipeline has been slowly reducing the flow for months now in what looks like a slow-motion drowning of the German economy at the hands of the Kremlinthus responding to Western sanctions.

green contradiction

The ecoliberals of Los Verdes, however, face a huge contradiction, since the slogan “Nuclear energy? No thanks” has been part of its political DNA since its foundation in the 1980s. But the energy crisis is so serious in Germany that not even the Greens dare to rule out a possible postponement of the nuclear blackout.

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The Minister of Economy and Climate Protection, the green Robert Habeck, 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 bet of the ecological formation will depend on it. The first stress test, carried out between the past months of March and March, resulted in Germany being able to do without nuclear energy without endangering the supply to homes and industry. But in those months, the crisis generated by the reduction of Russian gas was not yet so acute.

The last word of the German Chancellor, the Social Democrat Olaf Scholzwill be key. A spokeswoman for the federal government said this Monday that the president prefers to wait for the results of the stress test. The relative little weight that the three nuclear power plants represent for the total energy consumption of the country (6%), added to the political price that a delay in nuclear abandonment would entail, make the German center-left parties doubt.

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