Following the horrendous earthquake in Japan and explosions at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, the German government is to subject all its nuclear power plants to a rigorous safety review.
For the safety reviews, operations at all nuclear power plants commissioned prior to 1980 are to be shut down. All others will be reviewed during normal operations.
German chancellor Angela Merkel also announced a three-month moratorium on a recently agreed extension to the operating lives of Germany’s nuclear power plants.
While the German Federal economics minister Rainer Brüderle did not believe that the temporary shutdown of some plants would jeopardise supplies, he did not discount the possibility that electricity prices might rise as a result.
At both European and international levels, Germany is pressing to have current safety standards reviewed. Merkel announced that she would be pushing for uniform and rigorous standards within both the European Union and the G20.
Seven of Germany’s nuclear power plants were commissioned prior to 1980: Biblis A and B in Hesse, Neckarwestheim I and Philipsburg I in Baden-Württemberg, Brunsbüttel in Schleswig-Holstein, Isar I in Bavaria and Unterweser in Lower Saxony.
They are to be closed down for the duration of the three-month moratorium. Previously, it was planned to extend the operating lives of these plants by eight years, whereas the younger plants were to operate for 14 years longer.