Germany's environment minister is a member of the Green Party in the country — so she's supposed to oppose nuclear energy for idealogical reasons. But recent changes in Europe's energy landscape means Steffi Lemke may have to change her mind.
Earlier today, Bloomberg reported that Lemke may decide to extend the lifespan of Isar 2. The nuclear plant provides about 12 percent of Bavaria’s annual electricity and supplies more than 3 million households in Germany's largest state by land area. The financial pub translated Lemke's comments about how she'd respond to "a serious electricity or grid problem" that were originally published in German-language paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, or FAZ, on Saturday. The minister said she's open to keeping the plant running if the government decides it's necessary.
Germany's three remaining nuclear plants generate about 6 percent of the country's total electric output and are all scheduled to go offline in December, FAZ reported last week. But those plans were made before Russia invaded Ukraine and changed everything.
Although Bloomberg says a previous report found no serious energy concerns in Germany's immediate future, Economy Minister Robert Habeck has asked for another one. Getting it right is important while Russia's bloody war impacts energy supply across the continent. France struggled to get through spring cold fronts and asked residents to reduce energy consumption, which makes it a lot harder to justify shutting down energy production that could help Germany's neighbor.
"I don’t see how we in the EU are supposed to explain that we are shutting down functioning power plants for ideological reasons while France fears an electricity blackout," Christian Duerr, a German parliament official, told Welt am Sonntag on Saturday, via Bloomberg. "This debate is not only about us, but also about our neighbors."
More on the nuclear debate: Experts Warn UK Government Not to Bury Nuclear Waste Under Ocean Floor