Environment Minister Lemke emphasizes adherence to nuclear phase-out

By Andreas Kissler

BERLIN (Dow Jones) — Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) confirmed the plan to shut down all German nuclear power plants in mid-April and pointed out in this context the increased risks due to the Ukraine war. “The nuclear phase-out makes our country safer. Nuclear power is and will remain a high-risk technology, and even in a high-tech country like Germany the risks cannot ultimately be controlled,” she said at a press conference. Since last year, nuclear power plants have become the subject of a war, which may have been unimaginable a year and a half ago, has now “become a reality here in Europe,” explained the Greens politician.

“It would be a mistake to think that the increased nuclear risk would be limited to Ukraine,” Lemke warned. “We are already witnessing attacks and acts of sabotage on the energy infrastructure in Europe, and we face ongoing threats from Russia against Western Europe and also against Germany.” That is why the decision originally made by the black and yellow federal government after the reactor accident in Fukushima to end the use of nuclear power in Germany was the right one, “and that is why we are sticking to it,” stressed the Environment Minister. “It’s good that a new era begins on April 15.”

Decades of decommissioning of the nuclear power stations followed. A total of over 30 reactors are still to be dismantled. How quickly this succeeds is “mainly in the hands of the operators themselves”. As a rule, they estimated a period of ten to 15 years. The dismantling is already well advanced at various locations, but at some it will take “more than a decade and a half”.

The fact that the last nuclear power plants would finally be switched off in a few days was “also from the point of view of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection, a clear increase in safety in our country,” explained the President of the authority, Inge Paulini, at the same press conference. The use of nuclear power is “connected with considerable risks”, but with the exit not all risks have been averted.

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 30, 2023 08:30 ET (12:30 GMT)