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Getting Germany’s reactors winter ready costs EUR 100m

The federal republic’s plans to keep two nuclear plants online past December will reportedly carry a bill of up to EUR 100m, sources say.

Photo: Philipp Von Ditfurth

The cost of getting Germany’s two remaining nuclear reactors ready to run beyond December will cost as much as EUR 100m, according to people familiar with the matter.

Europe needs all the capacity it can get this winter as the energy crunch is squeezing supplies from north to south. Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck will take a final decision on operations before the end of the year, but generators Eon SE and EnBW AG have been asked to prepare for extensions of the units originally planned to shut by the end of the year in line with the nation’s nuclear exit plan.

Eon’s Isar-2 plans a week-long maintenance from Oct. 21 to overhaul the pressure valves. Together with staffing costs and technical preparations, those add up to about EUR 50m, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Preparatory works at EnBW’s Neckarwestheim-2 will cost a similar amount, another person said.

Both companies declined to comment on the estimates, but said they expect to get compensated for the works, whether the rectors will run in the end or not.

Energy markets regulator BNetzA will decide the exact amount of compensation, according to a draft law presented by Habeck that allows the extensions and seen by Bloomberg. The publication of the document is delayed as Finance Minister Christian Lindner – who heads the liberal FDP in the government’s three-party coalition – is pushing for an even longer use of nuclear until 2024.

There had been a “clear understanding” among the government to pass the law, which however has been suspended “due to political disagreements,” a spokesperson for the Economy Ministry said by email.

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