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Mood for nuclear power in Germany improving

E.ON CEO Wulf Bernotat said on Thursday he has sensed a change in the mood towards nuclear power but does not expect any imminent deal to revoke Germany’s planned nuclear exit.

“The energy industry is realistic enough to realize it won’t be able to expect a straight-forward agreement to do away with the nuclear exit plan,” he told a group of foreign journalists in Berlin when asked about calls to extend the life of nuclear power plants beyond the current mandated exit by 2021. “The atmosphere (towards nuclear power) has improved considerably. There has been an acknowledgement that Germany isn’t the only country in the world,” he said, referring to the climate change discussion and nuclear power’s advantages on that score over fossil fuels. “It will be possible to get a deal to revoke the exit plans,” he said.

Bernotat said he understood that it was difficult for the Social Democrats (SPD), who sealed the deal in 2000 to shut down Germany’s nuclear power plants, to change their position ruling out an extension of nuclear power use in Germany beyond 2021. The SPD is in a grand coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats. The conservatives would like to extend the use of nuclear power. “The SPD is having a hard time with the idea because they have become so closely linked to the nuclear exit. But I think the awareness is also growing inside the SPD.” Bernotat said it was important for the talks about finding a way to extend the life of nuclear power plants in Germany to take place away from the public and media spotlight. (Reuters)