Germany's nuclear phase-out 'isn't comprehensible'

19 February 2008

[, 18 February; Reuters, 19 February] The head of EOn has called for a review of Germany's policy for the phase-out of nuclear power. Wulf Bernotat, EOn's CEO, speaking at an energy congress in Essen, said: "The nuclear exit of a highly developed country such as Germany isn't comprehensible in other countries." He said that a broad energy mix is required to meet future energy demands while meeting environmental targets. Bernotat noted, "We need all (energy sources), including renewable energies, nuclear, clean coal." According to Bernotat, Germany's existing nuclear power plants help reduce the country's annual carbon dioxide emissions by some 160 million tonnes. Meanwhile, Germany's head energy regulator, Matthias Kurth, has warned that Europe risks power shortages if it does not press ahead with new power plant projects to replace and add to aging generation capacity. He said that coal-powered plants were being cancelled because operators feared tougher emissions regulations or because of opposition from local communities due to pollution concerns. Kurth said that Germany had planned to replace 20,000 MWe of aging power plant capacity by 2012, but his authority was only aware of projects underway with a combined of capacity of 7000 MWe. Bernotat warned that EOn may not build an 1100 MWe power plant at Staudinger in Hesse state if local politicians and residents remain opposed.