Germans support continued use of nuclear power

Nuclear plant in Phillipsburg, Baden-Württemberg.
By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

The vast majority of Germans support the continued use of nuclear power despite the country’s three remaining nuclear power stations currently expected to close their doors in April.

A study by the Bonn-based Konrad Adenauer Foundation found a total of 71 percent of respondents support the generation of nuclear energy through appropriate systems, while just 29 percent believed nuclear energy should “no longer be used at all.”

The conflict in Ukraine and the consequent energy crisis enveloping Europe have given the German government a headache. The federal government was due to close the doors of the three remaining nuclear power stations in the country at the end of last year, in compliance with the 11-year phase-out process initiated by Angela Merkel’s administration back in 2011.

Nuclear power, however, has come to the aid of a government that was scrambling to keep the lights on this winter, as the country’s heavy reliance on Russian energy imports led to a huge shortage in the country, resulting in sky-high energy costs and many businesses warning of foreclosure.

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The German government was forced to offer a stay of execution for the power stations until April. However, instead of continuing to expand its nuclear energy production, as Hungary has with its Paks nuclear plant expansion, Germany appears to be calling it a day. Dr. Andre Baumann, the undersecretary of state for the environment, climate, and energy in Baden-Württemberg, home to the Neckarwestheim nuclear plant, has insisted the April extension will be the last.

Naturally, Baumann is a member of the German Green party. It has lobbied heavily against nuclear energy, despite the European Parliament voting to retain it on the list of “green” energy sources eligible for EU funding, much to the delight of Czechia, Hungary, and Poland who all pushed in favor of its continued use.

Not all members of Germany’s federal coalition government are happy with the move away from nuclear, however. The Free Democratic Party (FDP) wants to initiate a discussion about a possible extension beyond April.

“The Germans want the nuclear power plants to keep running. We should make that possible,” said Michael Kruse, energy policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group. “The climate will thank us,” he added.

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