Aiming at deterring any possible energy crunch, Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday ordered Germany’s three remaining nuclear to remain in operation until April.
The German leader has asked the economy, environment and finance ministries to create the legal basis for the plants to remain open.
“The legal basis will be created to allow the operation of the nuclear power plants Isar 2, Neckarwestheim 2 and Emsland beyond December 31, 2022 until April 15, 2023,” Scholz said in a statement.
Scholz also requested that the ministries present an “ambitious” law to increase energy efficiency, and put into law an agreement to phase out coal by 2030.
Germany planned to complete a phase-out of nuclear power by the end of 2022, but a energy supply crunch following Russian gas cuts has caused lengthy debate over keeping nuclear power plants at the ready.
There has been a disagreement in the governing coalition over the lifespan of nuclear power plants.
On Friday, the Greens agreed to keep two nuclear power plants in southern Germany in reserve until April but it wanted to shut down a third power plant in the northwestern Emsland district by the end of the year.
The FDP wanted to keep all three plants open until 2024.
Germany’s nuclear phase-out began in 2000 under an SPD-Green coalition government, which shut down a number of plants.
Years later, under former Chancellor Angela Merkel of the conservative CDU, Germany decided to shut down its remaining nuclear plants.
The Russian war in Ukraine has forced Germany to keep the remaining plants operating beyond their planned end-of-year phaseout.
Germany had to restructure its energy mix due to a collapse in energy supplies from Russia.
Soaring energy prices have brought fears of heating and energy shortages in Europe’s largest economy during winter.