German Chancellor Olaf Scholz brushed off the latest bid by his Free Democrat coalition partners to reverse the country’s exit from nuclear power, calling the technology a “dead horse.”
(Bloomberg) — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz brushed off the latest bid by his Free Democrat coalition partners to reverse the country’s exit from nuclear power, calling the technology a “dead horse.”
Lawmakers from the pro-business FDP have called for a halt to the decommissioning of Germany’s remaining atomic plants as a way to help ensure the security of energy supply. Scholz rejected the proposal, saying that the government is focusing its efforts on expanding renewables and that “nuclear power is finished.”
“It will no longer be used in Germany,” Scholz said, according to the transcript of an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio to be aired on Sunday.
“I don’t even need to put my foot down, because the facts are that when the use of nuclear power came to an end, dismantling also began,” he added.
Germany took its three remaining nuclear facilities offline in April, having briefly extended their operating lives as an emergency fix to the energy crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The decision to complete the nuclear phase-out, which was first codified in a 2002 law and finalized after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, came at a time when many countries are moving in the opposite direction.
Backers of the technology argue that until Germany has sufficient renewable-energy infrastructure in place, which could be years away, the country may have to draw even more on polluting fuels like coal.
Scholz told Deutschlandfunk that his administration is committed to building out renewables so that they cover 80% of Germany’s power needs by the end of the decade and 100% “shortly thereafter.”
At its peak in 2000, nuclear power accounted for almost 30% of German electricity generation. That dropped to about 4% shortly before the final three plants went offline.
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