ARCHIV - 03.03.2022, Bayern, Essenbach: Wasserdampf steigt aus dem Kühlturm vom Atomkraftwerk (AKW) Isar 2. Gedrosselte Gaslieferungen und Sorge um Energie-Engpässe: Die Folgen des Ukraine-Kriegs heizen die Debatte über mögliche Laufzeitverlängerungen der deutschen Atommeiler immer wieder an. Die Bundesregierung hält weiter eisern an ihrem Kurs fest. (zu dpa «Atomkraft - ja, bitte: Wie realistisch wären längere AKW-Laufzeiten?») Foto: Armin Weigel/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

With a view to the debate about longer operating times for nuclear power plants, the federal government has referred to another stress test for the security of the power supply in the coming winter.

However, the Federal Ministry of Economics and the Federal Ministry for the Environment emphasized on Monday that, as things stand so far, there is no new situation regarding the refusal in March to continue operating the three remaining nuclear power plants beyond the end of the year.

For the federal government, the question of nuclear power plants “was not an ideological question from the start, but a purely technical question,” said deputy government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann. In a second stress test, the security of the power supply will now be checked again under “tougher circumstances”.

A spokesman for the Federal Environment Ministry said that the debate about extending the term was “in the realm of speculation”. The March test showed “very clearly” that “we do not recommend extending the term given the current situation”.

“Nuclear power plants cannot solve the gas supply problem,” said a spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of Economics. Because they produce “just no heat” and could therefore not serve as a substitute for gas-fired power plants.

The spokeswoman emphasized that the transmission system operators had already expected more stringent assumptions during the first stress test for the period from March to May after the start of the Ukraine war. This would have included gas prices of 200 euros per megawatt hour and the possible failure of French nuclear power plants. “And in this scenario, the conclusion was reached that the security of the power supply is still guaranteed in the winter of 2022/2023,” even without German nuclear power plants continuing to operate.