Mr von der Leyen called for the continued use of natural gas and nuclear energy

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. Photo by Judita Grigelytė (VŽ)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen believes that it would not be worth giving up natural gas and nuclear energy “until sufficient energy from renewable sources is available”.

An EU official told Die Zeit: “There are different views on natural gas and nuclear energy.”

However, according to her, the EU’s energy supply concept will in future only cover gas-fired power plants that comply with strict rules, as well as nuclear power plants built using state-of-the-art technology.

In addition, the plan to gradually reduce nuclear waste must be adhered to, Mr von der Leyen added.

The European Commission has recently added natural gas and nuclear energy to its list of ‘green’ energy sources.

VŽ has already writtenthat on the eve of the new year, Germany shut down the 35-year-old nuclear power plant in Brokdorf, northern Schleswig-Holstein, and two other nuclear power plants in Grohnde, Lower Saxony and Gundremingen, Bavaria, on the night of 1 January. The decision is in line with the previous chancellor’s timetable for abandoning nuclear energy, even though Europe is currently experiencing one of the biggest energy crises of all time.

The move will halve Germany’s remaining nuclear power plant capacity and reduce energy production by about four gigawatts. So much energy is produced by about a thousand wind farms.

Germany plans to close its last nuclear power plants, Neckarvheim, Esenbach and Emsland, by the end of next year.

But one of the Green Party leaders, Robert Habeck, in charge of the newly formed joint ministry of economics and climate, acknowledged this week that Germany will almost certainly fail to meet its 2022 climate change targets. This is likely to happen in 2023 as well.

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Even in Germany, the public’s position on nuclear energy seems to be easing.

Protests in 2011 following the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan a decade ago led Merkel to initiate a plan to abandon Germany’s nuclear power.

Other countries in the European Union, including France, are continuing to develop nuclear energy and are calling for it to be included in the EU’s list of sustainable energy sources, allowing further investment in the sector.

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