Differing Views within CDU/CSU about Nuclear Energy

Differing views of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Bavarian Christian Social Democrats on nuclear energy made news over the weekend.  

Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety, Norbert Röttgen (CDU), wants to phase out nuclear energy as soon as possible. He does not want to extend the life span of the existing nuclear power plants for more than eight years beyond the Atomic Consensus reached during the time of the government of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Green Party, i.e. in 2030. His fellow party members Roland Koch, prime minister of the state of Hesse, and Stefan Mappus, prime minister of the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, accuse Mr Röttgen of deviating from the coalition agreement with the FDP as well as the CDU party program.

Last week the Ministers for the Environment of the states of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Tanja Gönner (CDU), Bavaria, Markus Söder (CSU), and Hesse, Silke Lautenschläger (CDU), had criticized Mr Röttgen’s views in a press conference. Nuclear power plants in their respective states will have to be shut down pursant to the Atomic Energy Act (AtG) if agreement on an extension of the life-span cannot be reached.

According to the newspaper Welt, Chancellor Angela Merkel distanced herself from Mr Röttgen’s position. The paper quoted a spokesperson for the chancellery as saying Mr. Röttgen’s statement on the possibility of a phase until 2030 reflected “his own opinion”. Welt also pointed out that Mr Röttgen had distanced himself from the head of the Federal Environment Agency, Jochen Flasbarth, who had told Süddeutsche Zeitung that the agency believed renewables could account for 40% of the energy supply in 2020. Hence, it was not necessary to extend the life span of the nuclear power plants at all.

Source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Welt Online

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