Off for Isar 2: Bavaria’s last nuclear power plant is shut down
The nuclear phase-out makes April 15 a historic day for Germany. With the Meiler Isar 2, a nuclear power plant is also going off the grid in Bavaria. It should be around 11:45 p.m.
It is the last day of operation for the Isar 2 nuclear power plant in Essenbach near Landshut: According to the operator PreussenElektra, the plant will be shut down shortly before midnight on Saturday. According to PreussenElektra, since Isar 2 went into operation 35 years ago, the power plant has generated around 404 billion kilowatt hours of electricity. There was no accident.
Block Isar 1 was shut down in 2011 and has been in dismantling since 2017. The dismantling of Isar 2 has already been requested from the supervisory authority, the Bavarian Ministry of the Environment. The operator expects the approval to be granted in the course of the year, so that the dismantling of Isar 2 could also begin at the beginning of 2024. PreussenElektra has estimated costs of around 2.2 billion euros for the dismantling of Isar 1 and 2.
According to the operator PreussenElektra, there will be no more feeding into the power grid from around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday and the reactor will be shut down around 15 minutes later. Another nine hours later, steam should no longer be seen above the plant’s cooling tower. It may be up to 15 years before the entire facility is no longer visible.
Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) described the nuclear phase-out as a mistake at this point in time. During a visit to Isar 2 on Thursday, he called for an extension of the runtimes for the last three nuclear power plants – in addition to Isar 2, Emsland in Lower Saxony and Neckarwestheim 2 in Baden-Württemberg – and the reactivation of other plants by the end of this decade.
Söder finds approval with his coalition partner, the Free Voters. Environment Minister Thorsten Faithr recently criticized the shutdown of the nuclear power plants, especially in view of the energy crisis and the coming winter.
On the other hand, Ludwig Hartmann, chairman of the Green Party in the state parliament, sees the Free State well positioned “for a tomorrow without nuclear power”. The energy supply of the future will be based on renewable energies.
Environmental protection associations in Bavaria also welcome the end of nuclear power in Germany. With the expansion of renewable energies, Germany will produce “clean, infinitely available and cheap electricity, completely independent of autocratic regimes such as Russia or Kazakhstan,” said Richard Mergner, chairman of the Bund Naturschutz.
On the other hand, it is difficult for the operator of the plant and the employees to switch off the power plant, as PreussenElektra chairman Guido Knott said recently. But: the rapid phase-out of nuclear energy was a political decision that had to be accepted. “This is what we do.”
Actually, the nuclear phase-out should have been completed by the end of 2022. However, due to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and the resulting energy crisis, the traffic light coalition changed the Atomic Energy Act in autumn to allow the three nuclear power plants to continue to operate over the winter until mid-April.
Prussia Elektra to Isar 2