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Energy crisis: Germany’s cabinet approves change to nuclear power law

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With concerns high in Germany over a shortage of electricity this winter, the Cabinet on Wednesday approved plans to delay the country’s much-hyped nuclear power phase-out.

Germany’s nuclear power plants were all meant to be offline by the end of this year in a policy agreed upon by former chancellor Angela Merkel.

The plan was recently backed by all three parties in the governing centre-left coalition: the Social Democrats, the Greens, and Free Democrats.

But the fallout of the Ukraine war and a cut in Russian gas supplies left Europe’s largest economy struggling to guarantee that the lights will stay on, businesses will operate normally and homes will stay warm during the colder months.

This led to a major coalition spat over whether Germany should extend the use of the three remaining nuclear power stations in the country.

On Monday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz made an executive decision to allow the nuclear plants to carry on running until April 15, 2023, overruling the wishes of the Greens, the second-largest party in his coalition.

Since then, all parties have said they will abide by Scholz’s decision but the failure to compromise has left the coalition bruised.

The Cabinet decision now goes to the parliament to be voted on.

The opposition has seized on the dispute as an example of disunity in the government.

Conservative Christian Democrat leader Friedrich Merz said that Scholz’s use of his executive powers showed the coalition was unable to make the necessary decisions to face the energy crisis. (dpa/NAN)

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