Berlin — In the eyes of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, it's not an option to extend the running time of the country's nuclear power plants to counterbalance potential energy supply shortages due to Russian delivery cuts.
"The experts tell us: That's not going to work," Scholz said in an interview with the Münchner Merkur newspaper, seen by dpa ahead of publication on Monday.
Germany's nuclear phase-out was decided long ago, the chancellor said.
Fuel elements and the necessary maintenance intervals of the plants had been precisely coordinated according to this plan, Scholz said, with fuel rods scheduled to last until the end of the year. To get new ones would take at least 12 to 18 months, he stressed.
"I support the nuclear phase-out with all my heart. At the same time, if it were possible to extend the plants' running time by one or two years without difficulties, few would probably object at this point," Scholz said. However, that was not possible, he added.
Rising prices due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine would be felt in Germany for quite some time yet, the Social Democrat said.
That reality has prompted him to bring back a practice, known as concerted action, Scholz said. It goes back to a voting format from the 1960s which brought representatives from business, politics and trade unions, among others, together to consult on long-term goals that combine the interests of the different groups.
Scholz announced a first meeting for July 4. "The aim is for us to get together and develop a joint plan on how we can relieve the burden on workers," he said.
Meanwhile, the chancellor also said he would propose the formation of a climate club at the upcoming G7 summit, which would comprise all those countries aiming to become carbon neutral by 2050 and looking to develop joint procedures to that end.
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