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Germany to keep 2 nuclear plants on standby in case of energy shortage

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Germany will keep two nuclear power plants on standby until next spring to prevent an energy shortage, officials said on Monday, despite its plan to phase out the power source by the end of this year.

The announcement came following a power system stress test to examine the security of the country’s electricity grid for the winter.

The government said the stress test was due in part to the summer droughts, French nuclear power problems, and the tense energy market situation amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.

It concluded that while an electricity crisis or outage was unlikely, they “cannot completely be ruled out”.

Germany’s economics and climate protection minister Robert Habeck assured in a statement on the government’s website, that Germany has a high security of supply for energy.

He said that the war in Ukraine had created a tense situation and that the government was doing everything it could to avoid a gas shortage.

“It is still very unlikely that there will be crisis situations and extreme scenarios,” Habeck added in the statement.

He specified that Germany would continue to phase out nuclear energy with just two plants remaining open through the 2022/2023 winter in southern Germany: Isar 2 and Neckarwestheim.

“Nuclear power is and will remain a high-risk technology, and the highly radioactive waste will burden tens of generations to come,” Habeck added.

Part of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition government, Habeck is the former co-leader of the German Greens party which is against nuclear power.

The country was meant to phase out its nuclear power plants by the end of this year due to former Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government decision following the 2011 Fukushima crisis in Japan.

European governments are under pressure to address growing concerns of natural gas shortages and possible power or heating outages this winter.

Russia recently cut gas supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline while countries scramble to find other sources of natural gas – often used for heating.

European leaders are urging consumers to save energy in preparation for the winter.

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