German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday raised the potential for maintaining nuclear crops as he accused Russia of blocking the supply of a key turbine to disrupt fuel provides to Europe.
The continent’s largest economic system is scrambling for power sources to fill the hole left by the discount in fuel provides from Moscow.
Standing subsequent to the turbine, Scholz stated extending the lifetime of Germany’s three remaining nuclear energy crops “may make sense.”
The ability crops, which might be taken off the grid on the finish of the yr, had been “related solely for the manufacturing of electrical energy and just for a small a part of it,” Scholz stated.
In complete, the nuclear fleet accounts for six p.c of Germany’s electrical energy manufacturing.
The federal government has stated it would await the end result of a brand new “stress take a look at” of the nationwide electrical energy grid earlier than figuring out whether or not to stay with the long-planned outage.
Former Chancellor Angela Merkel spectacularly determined to surrender nuclear energy in 2011 after the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in Japan.
Extending the lifetime of energy crops has sparked a heated debate in Germany, the place nuclear energy has been a supply of controversy courting again to Merkel’s transfer.
The problem has divided the governing coalition, with the Social Democrats of Scholz and the Greens up to now skeptical, and the FDP favoring an extension.
Germany has already moved to restart coal-fired energy crops to guard towards energy shortages.
The primary of those was already “supplying electrical energy to the grid”, Scholz stated on Wednesday, including that Germany needed to put together for a “tough time”.
The squeeze comes as Russia cuts provides of fuel, which Germany has lengthy relied on for its energy trade and residential heating.
Russian power large Gazprom has added restricted provides resulting from technical points.
The delayed return of a turbine from Canada, the place the unit was being serviced, adopted an preliminary discount in shipments by the Nord Stream 1 pipeline in June, in response to Gazprom.
Provides by the ability hyperlink had been additional decreased to round 20 p.c of capability on the finish of July, after Gazprom stopped the operation of one of many final two working generators as a result of “technical situation of the engine”.
Berlin has rejected Gazprom’s justifications for chopping provide, seeing as a substitute a “political” transfer in response to Western assist for Ukraine.
The turbine, which was moved from Canada to Germany, was “obtainable and dealing,” Scholz stated Wednesday.
“There is no such thing as a motive why this cargo can’t occur,” he stated, including that he had obtained “all approvals” wanted for export from Germany to Russia.
The pipeline operators solely needed to say “they wish to have the turbine and supply the mandatory customs data for transport to Russia,” Scholz stated.
However Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted that Gazprom was nonetheless ready for paperwork confirming that the unit “has not been affected by sanctions”.
Nonetheless, within the opinion of Russian President Vladimir Putin, it was “technologically doable” to proceed provides by the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Peskov stated.
The second pipeline, which runs parallel to Nord Stream 1, stays full, however was blocked by the German authorities on the eve of the invasion of Ukraine.
Former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who signed the pipeline whereas in workplace, advised German journal Stern that it was the “best answer” to make use of Nord Stream 2 as a substitute.
However Scholz rejected the decision, saying Nord Stream 1 provided sufficient capability for fuel flows.
Moscow’s transfer to restrict provides despatched a “tough message” to the world by casting doubt on Russia’s dedication to its agreements, he added.