E.ON undecided on early nuclear plant closure

E.ON has not yet made a decision on whether to close its Grafenrheinfeld nuclear plant in southern Germany, despite reports from the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that it intends to close the facility earlier than expected.

Such a closure would go against the wishes of the German government, which has expressed the desire for the nuclear power plant to remain open and assist in maintaining the country’s energy security during the ongoing transition to renewable energy (Energiewende).
Grafenrheinfeld nuclear plant
The newspaper claims that the utility is looking at closing the 1275 MW unit by early 2015, six months ahead of schedule. However spokesperson Markus Nitschke told Montel online that no decision had been made.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper claimed to have information that showed the German energy giant would opt against refuelling its unit and instead bring forward a closure originally scheduled for December 2015.

Energy minister Sigmar Gabriel told the paper that energy security needed to be maintained and that the closure would proceed as planned, not earlier.

The south of the country faces a net reduction of 5.4 GW of capacity by 2018, according to data from network regulator BNA. Germany is expanding grid capacity to transmit power from the country’s north, but it is feared the networks are not keeping pace with planned closures and the expansion of renewable energy.

E.ON (FWB: EOAN) and its rival RWE (FWB: RWE) have previously indicated they might close reactors earlier than the country’s schedule to phase out nuclear power by 2022.

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