15 February 2010 - German environment minister Norbert Roettgen is stick to an agreement that would see two nuclear power plants close in the coming months, according to German newspaper Tagesspiegel am Sonntag.
According to present rules, the Neckarwestheim power plant is set to shutdown in May. The Biblis A nuclear plant in Hesse is earmarked for closure in summer. Roettgen said in a newspaper interview that he would not intervene to delay closure dates for reactors in coming months.
"The operation of individual nuclear power stations will be decided on the basis of current law," said Roettgen. "We have defined nuclear energy as a 'bridge technology.' The bridge ends when renewable energies can reliably replace nuclear energy."
He added that new policy on the nuclear phase-out would be decided in autumn, when the government coalition of Christian Democrats (CDU) and Free Democrats (FDP) would discuss its energy policy, reported Deutsche Welle.
German Economic Minister Rainer Bruederle warned against "ideological rash reactions" and hinted at a more pragmatic approach. The FDP minister told German weekly Bild am Sonntag that solid facts should shape future policy and that millions would need to be invested in renewable energy.
"If we don't want electricity prices to go through the roof, we must build a bridge to the renewable age. For the coalition this bridge is, along with the use of clean coal, nuclear energy," he said. But, Bruederle added, "One thing is clear. Nobody wants new nuclear power stations in Germany."
While Roettgen has said that plant life-spans could feasibly be expanded by eight years, his party colleagues in three states have called for a far longer stay of execution. Conservative regional environment ministers Markus Soeder from Bavaria, Tanya Goeder from Baden-Wuerttemberg and Silke Lautenschlaeger from Hesse advocate a further 20 years on top of Roettgen's suggestion.
The three represent German states with nuclear power plants and argue that renewable energy will not be ready to replace atomic power in time to realize Roettgen's proposal.