Monday, December 12, 2005

German minister eyes nuclear power rethink: paper

Science News Article | Reuters.com

BERLIN (Reuters) - Nuclear power should play a role in electricity production in Germany in the future, Economy Minister Michael Glos said in a newspaper interview on Sunday, calling for a rethink of plans to close the country's reactors.

"We need a broad energy mix to guarantee supplies at low prices," Glos was quoted as saying in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

"It doesn't make any sense for us to buy electricity produced by nuclear power from our neighbors but to totally turn our backs on it ourselves."

Germany's conservatives and Social Democrats (SPD) agreed to disagree on the merits of nuclear power in their coalition government deal struck last month. Glos is a member of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the sister party of the Christian Democrats (CDU).

The coalition contract said there would be no changes to a decision taken by the former Social Democrat-Greens government in 2000 to phase out nuclear power gradually.

Two nuclear reactors have already been closed. The remaining 17, owned by utilities RWE AG, E.ON AG and EnBW, are due to shut over the next 15 years. The next due to close, according to the environment ministry, is RWE's 1.225 megawatt "Biblis A" reactor, in 932 days.

Glos said he hoped for a rethink. "We should not turn our backs on a technology of the future...But I hope that the last word has not been spoken. The tussle between coalition partners who work well together over what makes economic sense never ends."

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