Ministry: Nuclear power shutdown was right: Habeck’s ex-state secretary is said to have suppressed criticism

Ministry: Shutting down nuclear power was the right thing to do
Habeck’s ex-state secretary is said to have suppressed criticism

Only after a lawsuit did Habeck’s ministry release sensitive documents: According to this, there were voices in the house who considered a later nuclear phase-out to be sensible. State Secretary Graichen, who was fired long ago, is said to have kept these opinions away from Habeck. The ministry disagrees.

According to a report in the magazine “Cicero”, important employees of Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck and Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke are said to have suppressed internal concerns about the sense of a timely nuclear phase-out. The Ministry of Economic Affairs rejects the representation. In its reporting on the topic, the magazine refers to internal correspondence from the two ministries. A “Cicero” journalist had successfully sued for the release of the documents that had previously been kept secret by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

In a draft note dated March 3, 2022, employees of Habeck’s ministry argued that, under certain circumstances, a limited extension of the service life of the remaining German nuclear power plants until the following spring could make sense. They advised that this possibility be further examined. The paper is also available to the dpa news agency. According to the ministry, at the management level the document was only available to State Secretary Patrick Graichen, a party friend of Habeck’s, who later had to leave office after allegations of nepotism – it would not have reached the minister.

Ministry sees no scandal

The Ministry of Economic Affairs says that the paper was included in a later published audit note by the ministries of economics and the environment, in which they spoke out against an extension of the term – with reference to the “very high economic costs, constitutional and security risks”, as it was stated in one press release said. In another case, according to the “Cicero” report, Graichen formulated a note in which he argued for the timely nuclear phase-out and which he forwarded to Habeck. The head of the department for nuclear safety and radiation protection in the Ministry of the Environment, Gerrit Niehaus, raised concerns about the content.

The ministry says that since the outbreak of the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine in February 2022, they have repeatedly addressed the question of whether and to what extent extending the operating times of the three German nuclear power plants that were still running at the time could increase energy security. “This review was always open-ended and transparent.” And further: “Considerations and decisions were based on the information available at the time and in view of the real situation, which only changed and worsened over the course of the months.”

Controversial continued operation

The basis for all decisions in the energy crisis was always security of supply. On April 15, 2023, Germany finally phased out nuclear power and shut down the last three reactors: Isar 2, Neckarwestheim 2 and Emsland. Dismantling has begun and could take up to 15 years. The power plants were originally supposed to be taken off the grid at the turn of the year, but operation was extended to secure the power supply.

The Greens had long resisted such a move, but ultimately supported Habeck’s idea of ​​a temporary operational reserve for the last German nuclear power plants. At the end, Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke out in favor of continued operations.

source site-34