Dhe Prime Minister of Hesse, Boris Rhein (CDU), is calling for more research into new energy generation technologies in view of the nuclear phase-out. “The war in Ukraine and the energy crisis show us that we have to position ourselves broadly. In view of the nuclear phase-out, we must promote research that is open to all technologies. Not just get out, but get in,” said Rhein in an interview with the FAZ
The CDU politician cited laser-based nuclear fusion as an example. “There is enormous potential that has so far not been fully exploited. In December it was possible for the first time to generate more energy than was used for the fission of hydrogen nuclei. The United States invests billions in research. We should do the same in Germany,” said Rhein. “Even if the technology will only play a major role in 20 or 30 years, it is now a matter of setting the course for it. We will then benefit from it in decades.”
Hesse is well suited as a location for nuclear fusion research. “Not only that we have the German-American company ‘Focused Energy’, which works on energy production through laser-based nuclear fusion. The ring accelerator that researchers need for their work is also being built in Darmstadt.” So far, Hesse has been funding nuclear fusion research with around two and a half million euros. The Hessian CDU would like to significantly expand the funding and make the state the “leading location” for nuclear fusion.
Rhein sharply criticized the phase-out of nuclear power. He considers what happened on April 15 to be “irrational, driven by ideology and wrong in the crisis,” said Rhein. It contradicts what experts recommend. According to Rhein, the remaining nuclear power plants would have supplied ten million households with electricity.
“At a time when nuclear power plants are being built in Europe, when Germany wants to phase out coal-fired power for good reason, when we will need more electricity for heat pumps and electric cars, we are depriving ourselves of a power source that has been reliable for decades.”
Rhein does not consider the exit to be irreversible. “Politically, the phase-out of nuclear power has been decided for the time being. But of course this decision can be changed if there is the political will and the operators are willing to get back on board. However, the more time that elapses after the phase-out, the less likely a return to nuclear power becomes.” There will then be a lack of fuel rods, personnel and know-how.