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HomeEuropeAtomic Age is Over in Germany, Chancellor Scholz Insists

Atomic Age is Over in Germany, Chancellor Scholz Insists

Germany will not leave the door open for a possible return to using nuclear power now or in the future, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Saturday.

Responding to a suggestion from members of his own governing coalition that the country should not rule out restarting its shuttered reactors, Scholz told radio station Deutschlandfunk that “nuclear energy is over” and the issue is “a dead horse” in Germany.

“The fact is that with the end of the use of nuclear power, dismantling has also begun” at the power stations that have been closed down, he said. “Any talk of resuming the use of atomic energy would imply building new power stations,” Scholz argued.

“Anyone who wanted to build new nuclear power plants would need 15 years and would have to spend €15-€20 billion each,” he went on.

Members of the the Free Democrats party, which serves as a junior coalition partner with Scholz’s Social Democrats, backed a policy statement calling on the government “to stop the dismantling of the nuclear power plants that are still fit to use.”

Germany took its last three nuclear reactors offline in April in a controversial decision that critics warned would only lead to more fossil fuels being burned to generate electricity. The decision was taken in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster that saw a tsunami damage four reactor buildings in central Japan.

Berlin has since become a leading advocate for putting an end to nuclear energy at an EU level, consistently opposing efforts by France and other pro-atomic energy nations to include the technology in clean power legislation.

Speaking to POLITICO in April, France’s nuclear power chief Joël Barre hit out at Berlin’s policy. “I don’t understand the position of Germany because I don’t believe at all that up to the middle of the century they will be able to carry out a zero-carbon strategy based solely on renewable sources,” he said.




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