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March 9, 2022

Germany rules out extending lifespan of its nuclear facilities

The costs of running the nuclear facilities were deemed to outweigh their ‘limited’ benefits.

The German Government has decided not to extend the lifespan of its existing nuclear facilities despite Russia’s threat to stall all its gas supplies to Germany in response to Western sanctions over its military action against Ukraine.

Reuters reported that after the invasion began on 24 February, German ministers proposed extending the lifespan of Germany’s nuclear power facilities as Russia accounts for two-thirds of the country’s natural gas imports.

The country’s economy and environment ministries said that after weighing all options, they had concluded that the costs of running the nuclear facilities outweighed ‘limited’ benefits.

In a joint statement, the two ministries said: “As a result of weighing up the benefits and risks, an extension of the operating lives of the three remaining nuclear power plants is not recommended, also in view of the current gas crisis.”

German energy companies EnBW, RWE and E.ON operate the country’s last nuclear plants, which are due to close this year.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said that the government has decided to diversify the country’s energy resources, which includes the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the country’s northern region.

He added that the LNG terminal could become operational within the next two years.

Reuters quoted Habeck as saying: “We totally agree that the construction of electricity networks, LNG terminals and renewable energy must be done at ‘Tesla speed’.”

Other alternatives being considered by the German Government include the creation of more renewable energy projects such as solar and wind.

The executive is also considering keeping coal-fired power plants as a standby option during emergencies.

On 28 February, Germany’s economy ministry said that the country aims to expedite its development of wind and solar energy projects to reduce its reliance on Russian gas.

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