Nuclear Turn: Closing Down Nuclear Power Plants Opens up Prospects for the Final Repository Site Search

DIW Weekly Report 47 / 2021, S. 359-366

Mario Kendziorski, Claudia Kemfert, Fabian Präger, Christian von Hirschhausen, Robin Sogalla, Björn Steigerwald, Ben Wealer, Richard Weinhold, Christoph Weyhing

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With the closure of the final six nuclear power plants, the commercial use of nuclear energy for electricity generation in Germany will come to an end in 2022. Due to the German power system's sufficient capacities—in 2020, the sector exported 20 terawatt hours (TWh), or about four percent of its electricity production—and its integration into the European electricity system, there is no reason to fear a lack of supply security. According to model calculations, the impact on electricity flows and local supply and demand situations will remain minimal. This closure is also necessary to gain societal acceptability for a final repository site for radioactive waste. Following several unsuccessful attempts, the search is now concretely on the agenda with the Repository Site Selection Act of 2017, and a site is to be decided upon by 2031. However, the nuclear turn goes beyond closures and the disposal of radioactive waste: Existing nuclear subsidies must be eliminated as well, and new ones avoided.

Claudia Kemfert

Head of Department in the Energy, Transportation, Environment Department

JEL-Classification: L51;L94;Q48
Keywords: nuclear power, economics, Europe, Germany