“We don’t want nuclear energy, we don’t think it’s sustainable and we don’t want the EU to support it,“ the acting minister from the Social Democrats (SPD) told newspapers of the Funke Mediengruppe in an article carried by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Schulze added that the German government is not alone on this position, countering an initiative of several other EU member states under the leadership of France to give nuclear power a greater role in the EU’s plans for decarbonisation and the greening of the financial system. Building nuclear plants would be much too expensive and time-consuming for effective climate action, with plants commissioned now only being ready for operation by 2045 due to lengthy searches for a location, licensing hurdles and expectable protests against it, she argued. Conservative (CSU) Bavarian state premier Markus Söder backed Schulze’s rejection to make the technology a tool for climate action, arguing that Germany’s nuclear phase-out “is based on broad societal acceptance.”
Germany’s last nuclear power plant will go offline at the end of next year. Given its parallel phase-out of coal power, Germany bets on a fast expansion of renewables and natural gas plants as a bridging technology. But renewables expansion in the country has been sluggish in the past years and Germany is facing opposition regarding its emphasis on gas, which many countries also reject to include in the EU taxonomy, citing the new and controversial gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 between Germany and Russia as an example for combining the use of a climate damaging fuel with geopolitical challenges.