German minister: nuclear power and electric cars go hand-in-hand

In the latest high-profile intervention in the crucial nuclear debate, Germany’s transport minister called for an expert committee to examine whether the lifespan of the country’s nuclear plants should be extended.

Germany’s need to free itself from imported Russian gas in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine has spurred calls for the country’s three remaining nuclear plants to be kept open.

Late last year, Social Democrat Chancellor Scholz attempted to suppress a row between the environmentalist Greens, strong proponents of an exit from nuclear power, and the liberal Free Democrats by ordering that all three be kept running until April.

Now, Free Democrat Transport Minister Volker Wissing (pic) has also reignited the argument, telling the Frankfurter Allgemeine that the environmental benefits of electric cars would be reduced unless they were charged using nuclear energy, which is emissions-free.

“We need an expert answer to the question of how we can ensure we have stable and affordable energy supplies while also achieving our climate protection goals,” he told the newspaper in an interview published this week.

Critics of the nuclear exit say it could force Germany to rely more than planned on coal, which is more polluting than gas, during the transition to renewable energy.

The Greens strongly oppose revisiting Germany’s nuclear exit, which was introduced in response to the 2011 disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant. 

Advocates of the policy say an extension would be costly and that more can be achieved by building out renewables.