German official says nuclear would do little to solve gas issue

Juliet S Sorensen --- Xiao Wang

Germany’s vice-chancellor has defended the government’s commitment to ending the use of nuclear power at the end of this year, amid fears that Russia may halt natural gas supplies entirely.

Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck, who is also the economy and climate minister and is responsible for energy, argued that keeping the few remaining reactors running would do little to address the problems caused by a possible natural gas shortfall.

“Nuclear power doesn’t help us there at all,” Habeck, said at a news conference in Vienna on Tuesday. “We have a heating problem or an industry problem, but not an electricity problem – at least not generally throughout the country.”

The main gas pipeline from Russia to Germany shut down for annual maintenance on Monday, as Berlin grew concerned that Moscow may not resume the flow of gas as scheduled.

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Germany’s main source of Russian gas, is scheduled to be out of action until July 21 for routine work that the operator says includes “testing of mechanical elements and automation systems”.

But German officials are suspicious of Russia’s intentions, particularly after Russia’s Gazprom last month reduced the gas flow through Nord Stream 1 by 60 percent.

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