German authorities resist power transfers for ageing NPPs

9 April 2009

The Leipzig federal administrative court decided on March 26, 2009 that the nuclear power plants Biblis A (KWB A) and Brunsbuettel (KKB) are not entitled to get a transfer of electricity from the shut down Muelheim-Kaerlich nuclear power plant.

Sigmar Gabriel (SPD), German federal minister for the environment, nature protection and reactor safety has achieved an important victory against the utilities. From the beginning of the application, his ministry has denied that such a transfer should be allowed.

The court stated that the remaining Muelheim-Kaerlich electricity quantities may only be transferred to those seven younger nuclear power plants which had originally been mentioned in the phase-out agreement of 2002.

Nevertheless RWE will continue to fight for a prolongation of Biblis A. It has therefore applied for transfer of electricity quantities from the nuclear power plant Emsland (KKE) to Biblis A. This application has still to be decided at the higher administrative court of Hesse.

In a statement, RWE said that "the transfer of generating capacity to Biblis A is designed to align its service life with that of Biblis Unit B. At stake are some 30 billion kilowatt hours of electricity and a lifetime through to around 2013. From a technical safety point of view this is totally justifiable."

"We take the view that our nuclear power option should be kept open‚" said Gerd Jaeger, member of the executive board of RWE Power.

In the statement, RWE also said: "Germany has set itself some ambitious climate protection goals that will be very hard to achieve without the ongoing use of nuclear energy. In view of the potential capacity shortfalls and increasing risks associated with our dependence on imported oil, and natural gas in particular, we cannot afford to ignore the issues of security of supply and economic efficiency."

Vattenfall stated that the Brunsbuettel plant would have another two years operation to come, mainly due to present repairs. However, it has also filed a second application for transfer of electricity from the nuclear power plant Kruemmel (KKK) to Brunsbuettel. The federal ministry for the environment, nature protection and reactor safety has not yet issued a decision.

At any rate, both Biblis A and Brunsbuettel will reach the next German legislative period due to prolonged repair work in recent years. They hope that a next German government will change again the German nuclear law and allow all nuclear power plants to run at least 40 years, instead of 32 as fixed by the phase out agreement.


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