Thursday, October 27, 2005

German parties deadlocked on nuclear power -CDU

Reuters AlertNet - German parties deadlocked on nuclear power -CDU

27 Oct 2005 12:32:52 GMT

Source: Reuters

BERLIN, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Germany's potential ruling coalition parties are deadlocked over whether to extend the life of German nuclear power stations beyond an existing deadline in 2020, a conservative environmental expert said on Thursday.

Peter Paziorek, a senior Christian Democrat (CDU) official on the working group for reactor safety and environment, said talks between conservative parties and the Social Democrats (SPD) on the nuclear issue had ground to a halt.

"We haven't moved forward one bit," Paziorek told Reuters.

"Our positions lie very, very far apart from each other."

He said working group talks would resume next week.

The conservative CDU and centre-left SPD are attempting to build a "grand coalition" after neither party won enough support in a Sept. 18 general election to form a government with their preferred partners.

The CDU and their Christian Social Union (CSU) allies pledged during campaigning for the election to extend the life of Germany's 17 nuclear power plants for as long as possible.

But the SPD promised to adhere to a law of June 2000 -- pushed through with the help of their then-coalition partners the Greens -- and phase out atomic energy by 2020.

Officials have said neither party wants the nuclear issue to be a stumbling block in the coalition talks, expected to last until next month, and their negotiators have already discussed a plan to extend the power plants' life by nearly a decade.

But a number of Social Democrats have publicly attacked the idea of prolonging the life of nuclear power in Germany.

Michael Mueller, leader of the SPD's left wing in parliament, said there was no room for flexibility when it came to scrapping the energy source.

"It's incomprehensible that the SPD has needlessly complicated the negotiations with its public statements," Paziorek said.

While nuclear energy is a tricky issue, the parties have agreed to maintain the outgoing government's policy of pursuing renewable energy from sources like wind, party sources said.

"There is unity on this issue among the partners," a party source familiar with the negotiations told Reuters.

Nuclear power, which became extremely unpopular in Europe after the 1986 Chernobyl accident, has been making a comeback in recent years. One of the reasons for its return to favour is the fact that nuclear reactors emit virtually no greenhouse gases.


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