According to Economics Minister Robert Habeck, the planned final phase-out of nuclear power should not be shaken – but there is still criticism of the shutdown of the last nuclear power plant this Saturday. The CDU, on the other hand, complains about the lack of climate protection in the decision, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) warns of supply bottlenecks and rising energy prices.

“This green climate minister prefers to run coal-fired power plants – the ultimate climate killer, CO2 polluters – than climate-neutral ones,” said Jens Spahn (CDU), Vice-Chairman of the Union Bundestag faction, on Tuesday on RTL/ntv’s “Frühstart” program. “It’s a black day for climate protection in Germany.”

Spahn called for the last three nuclear power plants to be extended until at least the end of 2024. “Coal-fired power plants should be taken off the grid, nuclear power plants should run – because they are safe and climate-neutral.”

Nuclear power plants are CO2-intensive and significantly more harmful than renewable ones

According to the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), electricity from nuclear power plants is not CO2-neutral: CO2 emissions are generated during the construction of the power plants, the transport of the radioactive material or the operation of interim and final storage facilities. In addition, the materials used in the construction – steel and concrete – are very Co2-intensive. According to the UBA, nuclear power is better for the climate than fossil fuels such as coal or gas in terms of emissions, but it is still significantly more harmful than renewable energies.

On Saturday, the three remaining nuclear power plants in Germany are finally to go off the grid. This was actually supposed to happen at the end of last year. However, because of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and the resulting energy crisis, the traffic light coalition decided last year to let the reactors continue to run over the winter.

Federal Minister of Economics Habeck considers the exit to be irreversible despite all resistance. With reference to the high filling levels in the gas storage facilities, new liquid gas terminals and renewable energies, the Green politician recently assured that the energy supply was guaranteed.

Göring-Eckardt: Electricity prices will fall

Bundestag Vice-President Katrin Göring-Eckardt also counted on electricity prices in Germany falling in the future despite the nuclear phase-out. “Of course, the price of electricity will be cheaper the more renewables we have,” the Greens politician told MDR. “Wind and sun, we always get them for free. We need the systems and the grids, and that’s why that’s the decisive factor.” Nuclear power, on the other hand, is “expensive, both in manufacture, in production and afterwards.” So the question of final storage is unresolved.

The DIHK, on ​​the other hand, complained: “Despite the fall in gas prices, energy costs remain high for most companies in Germany.” At the same time, Germany is “not yet out of the woods” when it comes to security of supply, DIHK President Peter Adrian told the “Rheinische Post” (Tuesday). “We must therefore continue to do everything we can to expand the supply of energy and not restrict it any further.”

Failures or restrictions in the energy supply are a hitherto unknown risk for Germany and a locational disadvantage that nothing can compensate for in an industrialized country, he warned. “Against this background, large parts of the German economy are relying on allowing usable nuclear power plants to continue running until the end of the crisis.”

The energy expert at the DIW economic research institute, Claudia Kemfert, disagreed. “The remaining three nuclear power plants that are still running produce less than five percent of the electricity generated in Germany,” she told the newspapers of the Funke media group. “We can easily switch off the remaining nuclear power plants in Germany without the lights going out.”