There will be no return to nuclear power in Germany over the next few decades however the country remains committed to enhancing nuclear safety worldwide, a minister has confirmed.

Germany’s federal minister for the environment, nature conservation and nuclear safety Gerald Hennenhoefer said 28 June that he is "convinced there will be no new debate on Germany returning to nuclear power over the next decades." In 2011 the country agreed a nuclear phase-out, which will see all reactors shut down by 2022.

"We have a national consensus that we want to transform our energy supply system to focus on energy efficiency and renewables," Hennenhoefer said.

"There are days and hours where energy generation from renewables in Germany exceeds demand," he said, noting that it would be "impossible to integrate NPPs into such a system of flexible generation by renewables."

Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the international ministerial conference ‘Nuclear Power in the 21st Century’ Hennenhoefer said that Germany’s ‘key objective’ is now to enhance safety for the future of nuclear power operation in Germany and worldwide.

"We continue to support the application and development of international safety standards. No matter where they are built, new reactors should meet these high standards and be subject to controls by independent regulatory authorities. Reactors already in operation should be retrofitted as required," Hennenhoefer said in his address to the conference.

The share of nuclear generation in Germany fell from 30% to 20% from nine units after the permanent closure of eight reactors in 2011. The remaining units are due to shut down by 2022. The greatest challenge, Hennehoefer said will be improvements to the grid to get power generated from wind farms in the north of the country to southern Germany.