The planned phase-out of nuclear power was important and right – but now the signs have changed. If we actually shut down the nuclear power plants at the end of the year, that would be a shot in the foot.

The war in Ukraine rages on, electricity and gas prices are rising to unprecedented levels and the federal government believes an energy emergency in winter is possible. Nevertheless, many members of the cabinet want to stick to the nuclear phase-out by the end of the year. Almost like a person who is just dying of thirst, giving up a sip of water that he still has in the bottle because the brand doesn’t suit him.

Nuclear phase-out: We will need every scrap of energy!

Of course, it’s not as if a sip of water would save the dying of thirst. And in the same way, a longer service life for the nuclear power plants would not solve the energy problem that is coming our way. All experts rightly point out that in winter we will mainly have a gas problem and not an electricity problem. But why should we create a possible second problem by shutting down the reactors now? The nuclear phase-out was the right decision. But it was a right decision in peacetime. It was the right decision at a time when no energy bottlenecks were to be expected – a long-term solution. But now we have to think short-term, no matter how difficult it is.

Economics Minister Robert Habeck recently called on all German citizens to save energy. It would be about “every kilowatt hour”. But then to reduce the energy again because you are not willing to give up your principles despite this extreme situation is a fatally wrong approach.

Only renewable energies will be able to solve our problem in the coming decades, but they will not help us in the coming months. So now we have to grit our teeth and choose the best of all the bad alternatives. There is currently no luxury variant that we can be satisfied with. Especially not with the alternative of further polluting our environment with coal-fired power plants.

Extended AKW running times against a speed limit: A fair deal

Now at the latest, the Greens, who have always supported the nuclear phase-out for very good reasons, must take a step towards their coalition partners. And maybe they and all of us can even benefit from it. A proposal, such as that by ex-Health Minister Jens Spahn, to let the nuclear power plants continue to run for a limited time and, in return, perhaps to adopt a speed limit on the motorway after all, may sound like horse-trading. But that would help everyone.

We probably won’t be able to fill up our gas supply enough for the winter. So the ghost of the cold apartment is by no means unrealistic. The question remains how we then manage to get a bit of warmth in the kitchen and living room. One possible answer is already given by the increased sales of electrically powered radiant heaters.

We will need the electricity in the coming winter. The remaining nuclear power plants must make their contribution. Even if the cost-benefit calculation will make most business administration students sweat.