Conservative opposition parties in Germany, the CDU and CSU, have launched a joint election manifesto promoting longer operational lives for the country's nuclear plants.
Under the terms of the manifesto, the conservatives would determine the safe operational life of each reactor and would then possibly extend the lifespan of some of the plants. The manifesto comes as part of a long-held policy to include nuclear power as part of the country’s energy portfolio, amid claims that subsidies for renewables result in higher consumer prices and production costs.
"The exit from nuclear energy is disastrous from a technological and environmental policy viewpoint," the manifesto reads, adding: "A global solution to the carbon dioxide problem that does not contain nuclear power is unthinkable."
However, while the policy advocates increasing the total amount of nuclear generation over that currently planned, it would come at the cost to utilities of lower consumer prices.
Under Germany's current nuclear phase-out plan, all of the country's 17 nuclear units are to be closed in the early 2020s and extending reactor life could be worth billions of euros for operators E.ON, RWE, Vattenfall and EnBW.
Meanwhile, right across Europe, nuclear power is gaining popularity as a method of combating global warming without reliance on gas imports.