Today, the Federal Cabinet adopted the draft of a 19th revision to the Atomic Energy Act. It contains the legislation needed for a temporary extension to the operation of the Emsland, Isar 2 and Neckarwestheim 2 nuclear power plants until 15 April 2023 at the latest. The draft provides that only the fuel elements already present in the respective facilities are to be used to generate power. No new fuel elements may be used. On 15 April 2023 at the latest, the power plants have to cease generating electricity.
Federal Minister for the Environment Steffi Lemke said: “The nuclear phase-out has not been abandoned. Germany will finally phase out all its nuclear power on 15 April 2023. There will be no extension to the lifetimes, no purchases of new fuel elements – and thus no additional highly radioactive waste. The draft legislation contributes to the stability of the grid, and it is compatible with nuclear safety because it restricts the duration of the continued operation of the power plants to a brief period this winter. We always need to bear the risks of nuclear power in mind, including during the current energy supply crisis.”
, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, added: “Today’s cabinet decision creates clarity. The Emsland, Isar 2 and Neckarwestheim 2 nuclear power plants can continue to generate electricity until 15 April 2023. They will stop doing so after that date. No new fuel elements wil be used. We will be in a different and better position in the winter of 23/24. We will be able to import much more gas, not least via our own LNG terminals. The electricity grids will be upgraded, the transport capacities increased. And we will have additional generation capacities on the grid, particularly through the use of renewable energy. We still have a lot of hard work ahead of us, but the direction is clear: in this crisis, we need to briefly increase power generation capacities whilst putting the conditions in place for a secure and climate-friendly long-term electricity supply.”
Today’s draft legislation provides that the three nuclear power plants, Emsland, Isar 2 and Neckarwestheim 2, will continue to be permitted to generate electricity after 31 December 2022 in response to the needs of the energy industry, and will have to cease operating at the end of 15 April 2023 at the latest. Only the fuel elements which are already present in the three nuclear power plants may be used. This means that the output of the reactors will gradually tail off. In view of the short period of at most three-and-a-half months of additional power generation, no Periodical Safety Review needs to be undertaken. The state is not assuming any of the costs of these extended operations. The draft legislation does not require the approval of the Bundesrat.
The revised Atomic Energy Act implements the mandate from the Federal Chancellor’s authority to issue guidelines. This decision also includes the presentation of an ambitious act to boost energy efficiency and the implementation of the political understanding between the Federal Government, the government of North Rhine-Westphalia and RWE bringing forward the phase-out of coal in the Rhineland district. Work is proceeding very rapidly on the implementation of both measures.