The grand alliance which is set to assume the reigns of power in Germany is moving forward with thrashing out its energy policy for the coming administrative period.
The conservative CDU and their Bavarian sister party the CSU in coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD), now has to plot a path through the thorny issue of whether to extend the lifespan of Germany’s remaining nuclear reactors beyond that allotted under the phase out plan.
Utilities such as RWE, E.ON, Vattenfall Europe and EnBW along with the trade unions are encouraging both of the major parties to extend the period during which nuclear power would be used, despite comments from the likely SPD environment minister who ruled this out. The CDU had already promised to extend reactor life in return for a cap on prices.
Now, negotiators are reportedly discussing a possible extension in the face of growing energy costs and the threat of climate change.
The talks are said to be focusing on a transfer of capacity from more modern reactors to those that had been due to close down during the next four years. Under the phaseout rulings, which call for a full phase out of nuclear energy by 2020, Biblis A and unit 1 of Neckarwestheim will have to be shutdown by 2009. Using the transfer clause would keep the reactors operating and such a move would effectively delay any final decision on a nuclear phaseout until after the next election.