Germany to keep nuclear power sector

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Germany's incoming government has agreed to reverse plans to abandon nuclear power. Berlin is eager to reduce dependency on gas and oil imports, but environmentalists have already vowed to fight the decision, says

Germany's next center-right government of Christian Democrats and Free Democrats (FDP) under Chancellor Angela Merkel now says that the timetable of abandoning nuclear power by 2020 cannot be kept.

Already ahead of Germany's general election at the end of September, the two parties had pledged to extend the life of some of the country's 17 nuclear power plants.

Economics Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg on Thursday confirmed that as coalition talks progress to form a new government, the two sides have agreed to accommodate that pledge and keep the nuclear plants running longer.

Energy experts and economists from both parties argue that in order to keep other pledges to cut Germany's carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent by 2020 and for reasons of energy security, the country has no choice but to extend the life of its nuclear power stations.

Merkel herself has called nuclear power "an important bridge technology" on the way to cleaner and safer power for future generations.

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