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Germany to extend nuclear plant phase-out by 28 years

Press TV – March 28, 2010

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government is pushing to extend the lifespan of some of the country’s nuclear power plants to 60 years, amid opposition.

The new plans come a week after an agreement between the environment and finance ministries, backed by the government, to add 20 more years to a previous compromise which had established that all of the countries’ nuclear power plants be shut down by 2022.

The opposition has slammed the move, arguing that this would endanger the safety of citizens as well as slowing down the progress in the filed of renewable energy sources.

In an interview published last Friday in the Munich-based daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said a 28-year extension of the previous phase-out plans could have the last nuclear power plant go off the grid in 2050.

Roettgen stressed that the government was just at the stage of considering all its options, with evaluators now discussing scenarios of extending the phase-out by four, 12, 20 and 28 years.

The paper criticized the government for treating the power plants like old bicycles, stressing that unlike a bike, nuclear facilities could not be patched up and reused for an unlimited amount of time.

This is while a 2002 Atomic Energy Act, currently in force, outlines a total phase-out by the next twelve years and bans the extension of the residual life of reactors, which have already produced an amount of electricity equivalent to 32 years of operation.

Nuclear power production is highly unpopular in Germany, where leaks at nuclear waste dumps and accidents at aging power plants have led to several controversies in the past years.

Many experts believe the aging nuclear power plants can not endure 60 years of operation, stressing that such a decision would be extremely dangerous.

March 28, 2010 - Posted by | Nuclear Power

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