Stress test confirms life extension of two German nuclear power plants: sources

A general view shows the Isar 2 nuclear power plant on the banks of the Isar river in Eschenbach near Landshut, Germany, August 17, 2023. REUTERS/Christian Mang/File Photo

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BERLIN, Sept 2 (Reuters) – A power grid stress test has shown that extending the life of two of Germany’s nuclear power plants could avert a power shortage this winter, sources told Reuters on Friday, although that the government said the test results were not finalized.

Germany has three nuclear power plants still in operation, but they are to be closed by the end of this year. Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition has debated whether they should be kept in operation to counter the effects of soaring gas prices and high inflation for decades following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Read more

The stress test showed that two plants in the south would help avert an energy crisis if, for example, coal-fired power plants did not produce enough and there was a high demand for electricity in neighboring France, the authorities said. sources.

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A third nuclear power plant at Emsland in Lower Saxony – operated by RWE (RWEG.DE) and also slated for closure – was not needed, the sources said.

Scholz’s predecessor, Angela Merkel, launched legislation to end nuclear power after Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster. Keeping the plants running would be unpopular with the Greens, Scholz’s coalition partner, whose opposition to atomic power is deep-rooted.

Asked about the stress test at a press conference, an economy ministry spokesman said the results were not yet available and the test was ongoing.

Government sources told Reuters that Scholz’s coalition was due to discuss the issue on Saturday.

Separately, utility chief E.ON (EONGn.DE) said he saw no technical obstacles to the continued safe operation of his group’s Isar 2 nuclear power plant – one of the two designated by the stress test – beyond the end of the year.

“We were able to continue to operate the plant in a technically safe manner. It is constantly monitored,” CEO Leonhard Birnbaum told Der Spiegel magazine.

Neckarwestheim 2, the other station which according to the stress test could support security of supply, is operated by EnBW (EBKG.DE).

Network operators conducted stress tests of the transmission system to assess the risks of an escalation of the Russian gas supply crisis on the network as winter approaches, and the usefulness of extending the duration life of nuclear reactors. Read more

Reduced gas deliveries from Russia via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, as well as lower gas flows via Ukraine, another major route, have left Germany and other European states struggling to fill storage tanks for the winter and prompted many to trigger contingency plans that could lead to energy rationing. .

In the past, Germany was particularly dependent on Russian gas supplies. Read more

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Additional reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff Writing by Miranda Murray and Matthias Williams Editing by Frances Kerry

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