30.08.2022, Niedersachsen, Emmerthal: Ein Zaun schützt das stillgelegte Atomkraftwerk Grohnde. CDU und FDP werben sowohl auf Bundes- als auch auf Landesebene in Niedersachsen für eine weitere Nutzung der Atomkraft. SPD und Grüne in Niedersachsen warnen davor, den Atomausstieg grundsätzlich in Frage zu stellen. Experten gehen davon aus, dass die drei Ende 2021 abgeschalteten Atommeiler - zu denen auch das AKW Grohnde gehört - innerhalb von Monaten wieder in Betrieb gehen könnten. Foto: Julian Stratenschulte/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

According to a report by “Spiegel”, the Federal Ministry of Economics is preparing to extend the operating times for the three remaining German nuclear power plants. The framework conditions for the ongoing stress test of security of supply for electricity have been changed in such a way that continued operation beyond the end of the year should appear sensible, the magazine reported on Tuesday.

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Accordingly, the four transmission system operators should not only assess the security of supply. They should also comment on whether the extension would help bring down prices on the electricity markets, which have recently risen sharply, the magazine wrote.

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.

A spokeswoman for the ministry denied a decision on the nuclear issue when asked by the news magazine. 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.