Germany plans to postpone the closure of the country’s last three nuclear power plants as it braces for a possible shortage of energy this winter after Russia throttled gas supplies to the country, said German government officials.
While temporary, the move would mark the first departure from a policy initiated in the early 2000s to phase out nuclear energy in Germany and which had over time become enshrined in political consensus.
The decision has yet to be formally adopted by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s cabinet and would likely require a vote in parliament. Some details are still under discussion, three senior government officials said. A cabinet decision would also need to wait on the outcome of an assessment of Germany’s energy needs that will be concluded in the coming weeks but which the officials said was a foregone conclusion.
Still, while a formal decision could be weeks off, the government believes two key conditions allowing a temporary extension of the life of the three remaining plants, now expected to close on Dec. 31, have been met: Germany is facing a likely shortage of gas and letting the reactors operate longer poses no safety concern, the officials said.
“The reactors are safe until Dec. 31, and obviously they will remain safe also after Dec. 31,” a senior official said.