The chairwoman of the “Wirtschaftswise men”, Monika Schnitzer, has spoken out in favor of a further extension of the service life of the remaining German nuclear power plants. “From an economic point of view, it would make sense to quickly order new fuel rods now,” she told the “Rheinische Post”. “That would give us more security next winter, even if the contribution shouldn’t be overestimated.”

The federal government should urgently consider letting the three nuclear power plants run “two or three years” longer. “The unsolved repository problem doesn’t get bigger if the runtime is extended a little.” As justification, the economist pointed out that the electricity prices were so high because the supply was scarce and the particularly expensive gas-fired power plants were therefore often used.

Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) recently rejected calls from the FDP for the continued operation of nuclear power plants in Germany beyond mid-April. In his view, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had “finally” decided that the nuclear power plants would be used this winter and not beyond. Actually, the three remaining nuclear power plants should have gone offline on December 31st. Because of the energy crisis as a result of the Ukraine war, its term was extended until April 15 after a word of authority from Scholz.

Economy call for energy solidarity surcharge

Schnitzer also endorsed the suggestion of the “economic wise men” to ask high earners to pay more in order to distribute the burden of the energy crisis more fairly. In November, the Council of Economic Experts spoke out in favor of a temporary energy solidarity surcharge or an increase in the top tax rate. Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) had ruled out tax increases.

“The energy solos can still be introduced in 2023,” said Schnitzer. This makes sense: “It expresses that the country is becoming poorer and that strong shoulders have to carry more burdens than weak ones.”