The German government has decided to expand the lifespan of three of Germany’s nuclear power plants until as late as 15 April next year, Reuters has reported.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz is understood to have told the economy, environment and finance ministries to create a legal framework that can keep the three nuclear power plants operational.

With a combined capacity of 4.3GW, the three facilities account for 6% of Germany’s total electricity production.

The country previously planned to end all its nuclear power production by the end of this year, ruling out extending the lifespan of its nuclear plans.

Despite this, Russia’s decision to limit energy supplies has forced the government to keep two of its nuclear plants on standby.

The decision to extend their life span was made after a lengthy debate within the ruling coalition government.

This is said to have delayed the implementation of a draft law allowing two plants to be put on reserve beyond their planned phase-out.

The nuclear facilities Isar II and Neckarwestheim II are part of the draft law, but Finance Minister Christian Lindner emphasised the need to keep Emsland, the third nuclear power plant operational.

Among those supporting the government’s decision are RWE and E.ON, which operate the Emsland and Isar II nuclear power plants respectively.

EnBW said it would require more clarity and a legal framework to be put in place to continue the operations of its Neckarwestheim II plant, which is scheduled to close by the end of this year.

Chancellor Scholz is said to have requested the ministries to prepare ‘ambitious’ legislation to increase the country’s energy efficiency, as well as put an agreement to phase out coal by 2030 into law.

Economy Minister Robert Habeck has supported this move, saying such a legal framework could be created immediately.