After the announcement of a leak in the Bavarian nuclear power plant Isar 2 that required repairs, Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke complained that she had not received any earlier information from Bavaria. In particular, the Greens politician is targeting the Union and the Bavarian Minister of State for the Environment and Consumer Protection, Thorsten Faithr (free voters), as she made clear in an interview with the German Press Agency.
The Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) and CDU leader Friedrich Merz both looked at the reactor and spoke to the operator. "I'm wondering if they weren't informed about the leak or if they simply didn't mention the problem in their press conference on August 4 in front of the reactor," Lemke told dpa. "The question also arises as to why Minister Glauber, after all the head of the Bavarian nuclear supervisory authority, did not draw attention to the problem. That is simply dubious," she continued.
On Monday, your company published a statement that the operator of the Isar 2 nuclear power plant, the Eon subsidiary Preussen Elektra, informed the Federal Ministry last week "about an internal valve leak" in the nuclear power plant. This does not affect the safety of the facility. The power plant can also continue to run until the end of operations, which is actually planned, on December 31, it said. For reserve operation beyond this date, as the federal government envisages in the event of a power supply emergency, a repair would be necessary as early as October, Preussen Elektra said. According to the information, this would be accompanied by a one-week standstill of the reactor.
There should be talks with the operator
"We are in the process of evaluating the changed situation and drawing conclusions," explained Lemke. In addition to the necessary repairs in October, an additional change in the law is required for emergency reserve operation from January, emphasized the minister. Therefore, discussions with the operator are now pending. "It is true that the operator must now decide very promptly whether to carry out these repairs," said Lemke.
The leak that has occurred makes it clear "that questions of security requirements are being systematically ignored in the political debate about extending the term of the CDU and CSU," criticized the minister. "For me, the new twist is also a confirmation that an extension of the term by three to four years is not responsible and also not simply possible," affirmed the Green politician.
Bund Naturschutz calls for rapid shutdown of Isar 2
Mergner also said with a view to the state government led by Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU): "Instead of wasting their energy in distracted discussions about the continued operation of nuclear power plants, the CSU and Freie Wahler should finally come up with a committed Bavarian energy saving concept and the massive acceleration of the expansion of wind power plants. and decide on, promote and implement solar energy."
On Monday it became known that the operator of Isar 2, Preussen-Elektra, had informed the Federal Environment Ministry in writing that the power plant would have to be shut down for around a week in October at the latest due to a leak if it was to be planned as an energy reserve beyond the end of the year . A later repair is not possible because the reactor can no longer be started up after the standstill due to the reduced performance of the fuel rods, the operator said.
According to the operator, repairs are not necessary
The Federal Ministry for the Environment and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs then declared that it had to be checked again whether Isar 2 could continue to be used as a reserve power plant, as previously planned, which could continue to supply electricity in addition to the pile in Neckarwestheim (Baden-Württemberg) until April. According to the operator, the repair is not necessary if the nuclear power plant should end power operation at the end of the year, as was the case with the decision to phase out nuclear power.
A spokesman for the Bavarian Ministry of the Environment had classified the case on Monday evening as "safe from a safety point of view". He is known to the country's regulator. "It is not a reportable event." Safety has top priority. "The Bavarian Ministry of the Environment is therefore sticking to the position confirmed by a report by TÜV Süd: continued operation of the Isar 2 nuclear power plant would be possible from a safety point of view. A speedy change to the Atomic Energy Act by the federal government would be required to create the legal basis."
The statement by TÜV Süd had also caused a lot of criticism on the part of the federal government, since it neither met the criteria of an expert opinion nor were the conclusions drawn legitimate.
Since Russia has been delivering less gas to Germany as part of its war of aggression against Ukraine, there has been discussion about longer operation of the three remaining nuclear power plants. Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) plans to keep two power plants operational until mid-April in the event of bottlenecks: Isar 2 and Neckarwestheim. After the nuclear phase-out decided under the former Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), all German nuclear power plants should actually go offline by the end of the year.