Olaf Scholz backs extending life of German nuclear plants

German Chancellor Olaf Schulz said it might “make sense” to extend the lives of Germany’s last nuclear power plants as reduced gas flows from Russia raise the prospect of a winter energy crunch in Europe’s biggest economy.

According to him, the three plants that are to be closed at the end of this year constituted only a “small part” of Germany’s total electricity capacity. “But still it might make sense” to let them run longer, he added.

Schultz They said the authorities would “draw our conclusions” from a stress test of the German electricity system currently underway and then decide what to do.

The chancellor also blamed delays in deploying a vital turbine for the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline on Russia, blaming it for not receiving the equipment.

“Clearly nothing – absolutely nothing – stands in the way of this turbine being shipped to Russia and installed there,” he said.

Gazprom, the Russian gas group, cited the absence of the turbine as it reduced gas flow through Nord Stream 1 in mid-June by 60%. It went further last week, Flow cut to 20 percent of his ability.

The move raised fears that Europe will not be able to fill its gas reserves ahead of the crucial winter heating season and will face a gas shortage that could disrupt daily life and tip Europe into recession.

Schulz said these things while standing next to the turbine in the center of the row – an unusual intervention intended to show the German public that there is nothing preventing Gazprom from accepting the assessment.

But Gazprom continues to insist that the problems with Nord Stream 1 are Europe’s fault, citing problems with turbine maintenance. “We call on the partners to solve the problems as soon as possible and the situation with the supply of gas to the European market will improve immediately,” Deputy CEO Vitaly Marklov told Rossiya-24 state television.

The turbine underwent maintenance in Canada, but the Canadian government initially refused to send it back to Russia, citing the Kremlin’s sanctions regime on Ukraine. Ottawa later relented after Schultz asked it to exempt the kit from sanctions.

“What is important is to make it clear that this turbine can be deployed and used at any time,” Schulz said during a visit to the Siemens Energy plant in Mülheim an der Rohr. “There is nothing mystical here… the turbine is there, it can be moved, someone just has to say they want to receive it.”

Christian Bruch, CEO of Siemens Energy, which manufactured the turbine, said Gazprom had no justification to blame the throttling of gas flow through Nord Stream 1 for the absence of the turbine.

He said that when it was sent to Canada, the Russians had an identical spare that could be installed in its place. He said there were six such turbines at Portovaya, the Nord Stream 1 compressor station, and that only five were needed for the pipeline to reach 100 percent capacity. But only one worked. “That’s why we’re only at 20 percent now,” he said.

Marklov insisted that the gas compressor operating at Portovia was the only one “in working order”. Turbines in other units required maintenance or repairs, he said.

The question is whether Germany Should continue to operate its nuclear power plants has become a huge bone of contention between the three parties in the country’s ruling coalition.

The smallest of the three, the liberal Free Democrats, want the factories to last longer while Schultz’s Social Democrats and the Greens are opposed.

But Schultz pointed out that there is a rethinking going on in the government. He hinted that some German states, such as Bavaria, may have to let their nuclear plants operate longer because they have fallen behind in building new wind farms and power grids. “And we have to take that into account,” he said.

He also said Germany was exporting electricity to France, which had to take some of its nuclear power plants offline for technical reasons, describing it as “an important contribution to European solidarity”.

Olaf Scholz backs extending life of German nuclear plants Source link Olaf Scholz backs extending life of German nuclear plants

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