German environment minister: Nuclear energy won’t save the climate

Nuclear energy will not reduce carbon emissions and nor will it help limit global warming, German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said on Monday, after an opposition politician made comments in favour of nuclear power.

“At times like these, when people are praising nuclear energy for supposedly being able to save the climate, it is important to emphasize that nuclear power won’t solve a single problem, but adds new problems that will last millions of years,” Schulze said.

She was referring to the unresolved question of how to dispose of radioactive waste.

“The nuclear phaseout has made our country safer. And it helps avoid radioactive waste, a burden for the next 30,000 generations,” she said according to a statement.

Nuclear power stations do not emit carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming, unlike coal and gas.

Last week, politician Joachim Pfeiffer, the energy spokesman for the Christian Democrats’ parliamentary faction, called Germany’s nuclear phaseout into question.

Pfeiffer said under certain circumstances, he would be open to nuclear power in the future, in comments to news magazine Der Spiegel.

His comments came after recent remarks by the new head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, who said nuclear technology can play a role in global efforts to curb climate change.

Nonetheless, Germany’s nuclear phaseout will reach a further milestone at the end of the year as the second block of the Philippsburg nuclear power plant in Baden Wuerttemberg is switched off.

The country’s last power plants, Isar 2, Emsland and Neckarwestheim 2, will all be wound down by 2022 at the latest.

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