The Federal Ministry of Economics has rejected a report by “Spiegel” that preliminary work is being done to extend the operating times for the three remaining German nuclear power plants. The reports in the “Spiegel” were “nonsense”, “the allegations are not correct and are based on a misunderstanding,” said a ministry spokeswoman on Tuesday evening.
The statement in the magazine report that there was a calculation by the transmission system operators that showed what effect continued operation or extended operation of nuclear power plants would have on electricity prices was wrong, the spokeswoman explained. “There is no such calculation.”
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The ministry spokeswoman also said that no scenario had been calculated with the aim of paving the way for the continued operation of nuclear power plants. Rather, “different scenarios are calculated that assume a different intensity of the stress factors”. All would then be “published transparently as soon as the stress test is over”.
The “Spiegel” had previously reported that the framework conditions for the ongoing stress test of the security of supply for electricity had changed in such a way that continued operation beyond the end of the year should appear sensible.
Accordingly, the four transmission system operators should not only assess the security of supply. The magazine wrote, citing information available to it, that they should also comment on whether the extension of the term would help to lower the prices on the electricity markets, which have recently risen sharply.
In addition, “first considerations” would be made in the Ministry of Economic Affairs for a draft law that would legally regulate continued operation. According to current legislation, the three remaining power plants will be taken off the grid at the end of the year.
At the request of the news magazine, a spokeswoman for the ministry disputed a decision on the nuclear issue, wrote the “Spiegel”. They also did not confirm a change in the stress test design.
Habeck himself did not want to comment on this at a press conference on the sidelines of the cabinet meeting. All questions would be answered upon presentation of the stress test results, he said.
According to the magazine, at the beginning of the month the federal government asked the three nuclear power plant operators RWE, EnBW and Eon how long the remaining fuel rods could continue to produce electricity. According to the answers, a so-called stretching operation of the nuclear power plant in Lingen with around 70 percent output would be possible until April, the same applies to Neckarwestheim. For the Bavarian Isar 2 nuclear power station, the fuel rods should last until June.