German Greens state stance on nuclear power amid federal government infighting | News | DW

The Green Party, one of the three federal ruling coalition parties, has supported German Economy Minister Robert Habeck in his plan to keep two nuclear power plants on standby in the event of an energy crisis during the winter, until April 2023.

At the Friday evening delegate meeting in Bonn, the party congress backed the continued operation of the Isar II and Neckarwestheim II nuclear power plants as emergency reserves until April 15.

The third remaining German nuclear power plant, Emsland, however, is expected to be decommissioned at the end of 2022, as previously planned.

However, there is still a dispute over this within the federal government. The neoliberal Liberal Democratic Party (FDP), which is also part of the ruling coalition, calls for Emsland to continue to operate even beyond April 2023.

Habeck’s ministry, whose responsibilities include energy and economic affairs, this week blamed the FDP-led finance ministry for slow progress in presenting the coalition’s current plan for a limited Cabinet extension. and sending it to Parliament for debate.

The Greens supported the prolonged operation of two nuclear power plants, including Isar II

No to new nuclear fuel

The issue also put Habeck in a difficult position with the party base, given the Green Party’s longstanding objection to nuclear power and the pride he had in being part of the first government to declare that the Germany would completely stop using nuclear energy.

The Greens said their red line on any nuclear expansion would be the purchase of new nuclear fuel elements, which would be needed to keep Emsland on standby. The Greens would not accept any legal regulations in the Bundestag that would buy new nuclear fuel.

Party co-leader Ricarda Lang said during the debate that new fuel rods or a return to nuclear power “is not going to happen with us”. Renewables must be developed and “nuclear power is not the future,” Lang said.

Habeck also described a return to nuclear power as “wrong”, adding: “There is no way this is happening to us”.

As for the operation of the reserve of the two nuclear power plants, he said that “we should not rule out this contribution out of hand” due to the emergence of an energy supply deficit.

The party gathers around Habeck

The energy crisis triggered by the Russian attack on Ukraine affects everyone, businesses and individuals. Habeck has sourced gas from many countries to replace Russian supplies, which has little to do with a sustainable energy supply. And with coal-fired power plants already in operation, the minister could benefit from party support.

Omid Nouripour, one of the two co-leaders of the Greens party, was sure at the start of the meeting that Habeck would get it. He told DW: “Our Cabinet members are taking responsibility. There are no playbooks for the current situation, you have to solve problems at a moment’s notice. And the party thinks that’s right and appropriate.”

“Thoughtfully and with determination,” Habeck said in his fiery speech to the conference, “this is how we lead Germany through the winter, this is how we give Germany security.”

However, he admitted that parts of this path could be painful for the Greens. “But we will never confuse what is the problem and what is the solution. Fossil fuels and nuclear power are the problem,” Habeck said.

Jens Thurau, who reported on the Greens party conference, contributed to this article.

dh/msh (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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