Schröder describes ‘future-orientated’ energy policy

30 November 1998

New German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (right) has justified his government’s plans to phase out nuclear energy, arguing that nuclear energy is “socially unacceptable” and uneconomic. The government intends to invest heavily in renewable sources and energy conservation measures such as cogeneration.

The statement, issued on 10 November, makes no reference to possible compensation for utilities with nuclear assets.

“Together with the energy industry we will find tolerable solutions for a future without nuclear power stations,” he said. “The coalition partners are agreed that the use of nuclear energy should be discontinued by mutual consent without anyone seeking recourse to justice.” The German government is also likely to rethink the country’s waste management strategy. Contracts to ship spent fuel to Sellafield in the UK and Cap la Hague in France for reprocessing look unlikely to be met.

“The previous disposal concept has failed,” he said. “We shall be replacing it with a national plan under which the disposal will be confined to direct final storage.

“Arranging for nuclear waste to be transported from one end of the country to another, an undertaking which can only be carried out safely with massive police protection, is not suited to a consensus and future-orientated democracy.” However the Green Party’s demand for an immediate closure of all nuclear power stations is not going to happen. Schröder emphasised the evolutionary nature of the new energy policy.

“Phasing out is not the government’s main consideration. It is more concerned with adopting a future-orientated energy supply concept. The proportion of nuclear energy will be reduced step by step and ultimately replaced. This will be a huge investment programme which will also create new jobs.”

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