Essen, Germany — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Wednesday that longer operating times for nuclear power plants were a possibility, a stance that would mark a U-turn for the head of government, who has been in office for less than a year.
Germany’s last few remaining nuclear power plants are poised to close permanently by the end of this year in a series of policies dubbed the "Energiewende" dating back to Scholz's predecessor, Angela Merkel.
However, an increasing number of politicians have been arguing to postpone their closure, saying that this would provide an alternative to increasingly scarce natural gas, for which Germany is dependant on Russia.
Scholz said that such a move "can make sense" even though the last three nuclear power plants in Germany are only relevant for a small amount of electricity production.
"The expansion of power line capacities, of the transmission grid in the south, has not progressed as quickly as was planned," the chancellor said.
"We will act for the whole of Germany, we will support all regions of Germany in the best possible way so that the energy supply for all citizens and all companies can be guaranteed as best as possible," he said.
Russia has dramatically reduced gas deliveries to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline in recent months in what German officials have said is a way to punish Berlin for its support of Kiev and its participation in sanctions against Moscow.
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