German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s proposal to extend the operational lifespan of the country’s 17 nuclear reactors by an average of 12 years was passed in Germany’s Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament, on Friday.
The approval marks the final legislative hurdle for the plan, though opposition parties have said they would appeal and are ready to file legal challenges against the extension. Lower-house lawmakers passed bills in October to permit nuclear plants extensions of as long as 14 years.
The country’s media widely reports that a majority of Germans would prefer to shut down all nuclear plants by 2021, as mandated by a previous law—now overturned—passed by Social Democrats and Greens. Merkel has said that the extensions are warranted for energy security as the country phases to renewable energy. The plan will also help the country slash its greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels and to 80% by 2050, she said.
The nuclear extension plan also calls for Germany’s four energy giants to pay €15 billion to fund research into renewable energy. The federal government on Thursday, however, agreed to review that aspect next June, reported Deutsche Welle.
According to Bloomberg, members of Germany’s upper house of parliament are planning to file legal challenges to the extension, saying the bill’s passage is unconstitutional. The bill will now be required to be signed into law by Germany’s president, Christian Wulff.
Sources: POWERnews, Bloomberg, Deutsche Welle: