BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s government plans to publish the results on Monday of a highly anticipated study into how the country’s energy sector will cope with possible shortages in the coming months.
The outcome of the so-called stress test could determine whether Germany delays the planned shutdown of its last three nuclear power plants at the end of the year.
Like other European countries, Germany is scrambling to ensure the lights stay on and homes stay warm this winter despite an expected shortage of natural gas because of supply cuts from Russia.
The government has announced numerous measures to import gas from other sources and reactivate mothballed coal- and oil-fueled power plants, while urging citizens to conserve as much energy as possible.
But there are concerns that Germany’s grid could be heavily strained if consumers switch to electric heaters in the winter and strong demand from neighboring countries sees energy exports rise.
Germany’s opposition parties have called for the country’s nuclear plants to be kept online, with some lawmakers even suggesting shuttered ones should be reopened and new reactors be built.
The energy and environment ministers — who are members of the environmentalist Greens party that’s long been opposed to nuclear power — say there’s little to be gained from eking out what little fuel is left in the country’s three remaining reactors, while pointing to the risks posed by leaving atomic plants that haven’t had to undergo key checks and maintenance for years.
Still, they have left open the possibility that a limited extension of the plants’ lifetime might be possible.