Shutdown on Saturday: ARD Germany trend shows: Majority believes nuclear phase-out is wrong

The nuclear phase-out is a done deal and is to be implemented this weekend - however, a majority of Germans are critical of the planned shutdown of the last nuclear power plants in Germany on Saturday.

Shutdown on Saturday: ARD Germany trend shows: Majority believes nuclear phase-out is wrong

The nuclear phase-out is a done deal and is to be implemented this weekend - however, a majority of Germans are critical of the planned shutdown of the last nuclear power plants in Germany on Saturday. Significantly more than half (59 percent) consider the political decision to be wrong, only around a third (34 percent) think it was right, according to the Deutschlandtrend survey for the ARD "Morgenmagazin".

According to the Infratest-Dimap survey, there is overwhelming approval for the end of nuclear power only in the 18 to 34 age group (50 to 39 percent), while rejection predominates among middle-aged and older age groups.

The step is evaluated differently by the supporters of the parties: while supporters of the Greens (82 percent) and the SPD (56 percent) welcome the end of nuclear energy, supporters of the Union parties (83 percent) and AfD (81 percent) are almost united against it. The majority of FDP supporters (65 percent) also vote against an exit.

On Saturday, the three remaining nuclear power plants in Germany – Isar 2 in Bavaria, Emsland in Lower Saxony and Neckarwestheim 2 in Baden-Württemberg – are to go offline for good. This was actually supposed to happen at the end of last year. For fear of energy shortages, among other things as a result of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the traffic light coalition decided after a word of power from Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) last year to let the three reactors continue to run over the winter. This was to prevent power outages and ensure energy security.

Unlike the SPD and the Greens, the traffic light coalition partner FDP is now also against the shutdown, as is the opposition Union - because there are fears that energy could become scarce again or at least even more expensive. The deputy chairman of the FDP parliamentary group, Lukas Koehler, expressed confidence that the last three nuclear power plants can be reactivated next winter if the Ukraine war triggers another energy crisis. "The electricity companies also see the need for the dismantling not to begin before the coming winter," he told the "Welt-TV" broadcaster. It is a matter of prudence to ensure that the piles "can be switched on again in case of doubt".

It is not entirely improbable that the dismantling after the shutdown will not have started by the beginning of winter. The dismantling permits from the responsible state ministries for the environment are not yet available. The Isar 2 operator, for example, the Eon company Preussen-Elektra, expects the license to be granted in the coming months and that dismantling could then begin in early 2024.

However, immediate reactivation is unlikely to be possible: For this, the Atomic Energy Act would have to be changed again, new operating licenses applied for and granted, the necessary safety checks carried out and the necessary fuel rods ordered. According to earlier assessments by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Environment, the latter will be delivered after a year at the earliest.

See the photo gallery: Germany is phasing out nuclear power. In the wake of the energy crisis, some are calling for a return to nuclear energy. A look around the world shows that many countries are already doing this.

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