German Atomic Forum Confident that Nuclear Power Plants Will Continue Operating for Many Years to Come

Berlin, 15.06.2000

The President of the German Atomic Forum, Otto Majewski believes that the agreement reached between the Federal Government and nuclear power plant operators has secured the uninterrupted operation of nuclear power plants for many years to come. "We have achieved our avowed intent of keeping German nuclear power plants in operation under economically acceptable conditions." In this respect, there was no alternative to the outcome of the negotiations. Majewski emphasised that he still regards the final goal of a complete phase-out of nuclear power as false for both ecological and economic reasons. However, he has recognised that the Federal Government wishes to put an end to this technology. The "Red-Green" government could quite easily have had a long-term effect on the number and operation of German nuclear power plants. This is borne out by the "phase-out-oriented" execution of laws such as has been practised for many years in some Laender. Against the background of politically motivated possible interferences, the acceptance of this agreement as a "second best" solution was politically correct in the interests of shareholders, employees and the German economy. This was the best result that power supply companies could expect at this point in time. But according to Majewski, the most important thing is that the further operation of German nuclear power plants has been secured over the coming years. This was the objective of the power supply companies in view of the government`s stance and has been reached through the compromise.

However, what has been reached in the negotiations should not lead to a situation whereby electricity from German nuclear power plants is replaced in the medium-term by electricity from European nuclear power plants. Majewski: "That would be another example of a classical German own goal." Neither should there be a moratorium on the further development of nuclear power. Nuclear power is not a dead-end street. Our children and grandchildren must still have an option on nuclear energy, and will most certainly need this in future. This is why the EPR project for one of the most modern types of reactor with the highest safety standards should continue to be pursued in Germany too.

And finally, Majewski warned that the result achieved should not be interpreted as a true consensus on energy. "There are too many questions on future innovative and integral energy policy which still have to be answered." Now that the fuss has died down, the government should not return to business as normal. Rather, a purposeful overall energy policy has to be developed calmly and with an eye for detail. The energy economy finally needs a consistent and reliable energy policy framework which does justice to the European market and technology developments. Majewski also warned foreign countries against interpreting the result as an irreversible withdrawal from nuclear power in Germany.


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