April 20, 2024

Officials in Germany Support Closing 7 Nuclear Plants

FRANKFURT — Seven nuclear power plants in Germany that were shut down after the Fukushima disaster in Japan are likely to be closed permanently after a decision Friday by state environment ministers.

A government agency warned, however, that without the seven plants Germany could have trouble coping with a failure in some part of the national power grid.

The shutdown “brings networks to the limit of capacity,” the Federal Network Agency, which regulates utilities, said in a report published Friday.

Meeting in Wernigerode, in eastern Germany, the state environment ministers recommended that the seven plants be closed. The decision rests with Chancellor Angela Merkel and her cabinet, which will consider the issue on June 6.

Mrs. Merkel is under heavy political pressure to speed Germany’s exit from nuclear power after public alarm about the nuclear disaster in Japan cost her party votes in recent elections. In late March, a few weeks after the tsunami and earthquake hit Japan and led to the crisis at Fukushima, the Green Party, representing environmentalists, drove Mrs. Merkel’s Christian Democrats from power in Baden-Württemberg, a state the conservatives had dominated for decades.

The Green Party is pushing for Germany to close all of its plants by 2020 if not sooner. “An exit during this decade is very doable,” Franz Untersteller, the environment minister in Baden-Württemberg, said in a statement Friday.

But businesses have expressed concern that the price of electricity could rise because Germany does not yet have enough other sources of energy to compensate.

The Federal Network Agency, in its report Friday, said Germany had transformed from energy exporter to energy importer since the nuclear plants were shut down.

When weather is ideal, Germany can generate almost as much power from wind and solar energy as 28 nuclear reactors, the agency said. The renewable energy fluctuates significantly, however, often requiring German utilities to buy power from other countries and creating problems for neighbors that had depended on German power.

The Federal Network Agency acknowledged that so far there had been no serious power failures since the seven plants were closed.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/28/business/global/28nuclear.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Speak Your Mind