With the Ukrainian war still raging and making arrangements ahead of next winter, Germany despite its original pledges and with a coalition that includes the Green party, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has admitted for the first time that the country could put off the retirement of its nuclear power grid.
“It could make sense” to keep nuclear power plants operating, Scholz said earlier this week, despite the current plans to retire the final three plants come December, and despite Germany’s economy and environment ministries in March recommending against extending the life of the reactors.
At the time, the German ministries concluded that extending the life of the nuclear reactors would have a very limited impact on alleviating Germany’s power crunch, and that it would come at a “very high economic cost”. The three remaining nuclear powered plants generate 6% of Germany's electricity.
“If someone decides to do so now,” Scholz said about the potential for building new nuclear power plants as recently as in June, “they would have to spend 12-18 billion Euros on each nuclear power plants and it wouldn’t open until 2037 or 2038. And besides, the fuel rods are generally imported from Russia. As such one should think about what one does.”
Germany has also restarted two power plants that run on oil as the country tries to conserve natural gas as Russian gas flows to Europe continue to be restricted amid an ongoing gas turbine repair situation.
Coal-fired plants in Germany have also been resurrected. Germany's goal had been to phase out all coal-generated electricity by 2038.
Austerity measures have been implemented, with Stadtwerke Munchen reducing swimming pool temperatures and shutting saunas until further notice.