“It’s a question of ethical issues”

At the end of September, the German cabinet plans to present the key points of its energy concept. The focus is on the question of a possible extension of the operating lives of nuclear power plants. The President of the Central Committee of German Catholics, Alois Gluck, pleads in our site interview firmly in favor of not extending its operating life.

Interviewer: Mr. Gluck, the black-yellow federal government calls nuclear energy a "bridging technology". As a bridge to the regenerative age, an extension of the nuclear power plant lifetimes is needed. What is your position on lifetime extension??

Alois Gluck: In any case, we must get serious about bridging technology And if we take this seriously, then the question of extending the operating life of nuclear power plants must be measured against its impact on the implementation and enforceability of renewable energies. Last year, the plenary assembly of the Central Committee adopted a very comprehensive declaration on environmental policy, which argues quite strongly for not extending the operating life. The most important thing is m.E., that an overall concept is presented. First of all, it is positive that, contrary to many efforts, it has not now been decided in advance to extend the operating lives of nuclear power plants. A real verdict is only possible in an overall view of the possible energy sources and the necessary networking. For this reason, nuclear energy must not be treated in isolation from the extension of operating lives. That would be a serious breach of the principle of sustainability.

Interviewer: In the meantime, there is talk of extending the lifetimes agreed in the nuclear compromise by up to 28 years. Also under discussion now is whether the goal of extending operating times requires the approval of the Bundesrat (upper house of parliament). Because according to the law, the federal states are responsible for supervising nuclear power plants. How do you see this?

Happiness: I cannot judge the legal question. From the point of view of the matter, broad acceptance is certainly necessary for such an extension. Politically, it will probably come down to getting the states involved as well. But in case of doubt, this will be decided in court. What is important to me is that we v.a. Create the conditions so that we can actually implement the lower-risk and permanently more environmentally friendly energy technologies. This requires not only the appropriate will, but also the technical conditions. For example, there is an urgent need to build up an appropriate grid structure, even beyond Germany, so that today's technical possibilities can compensate for the different running and outage times z.B. can be compensated by wind power plants. Because with wind and solar energy, we are of course dependent on the weather. You can't balance that on a small scale, you can only do it on a large scale. That's why we have to take these consequences into account immediately and then also tell the population clearly that it will of course mean establishing several larger electricity distribution networks in Germany so that we can really achieve a stable power supply in an interconnected system of regenerative energies. We have not had a real energy policy strategy in Germany for decades. Now the most urgent imperative is to establish a grid that is in itself based on the criteria of risk minimization, actual availability, environmental benefits, etc. to present a viable overall energy concept and not to make isolated decisions.

Interviewer: In 1986, you gave a decisive speech after the Chernobyl reactor accident. At that time, you warned the CSU in the state parliament not to rely exclusively on nuclear power. That was over 20 years ago. So how much further have we come on this ie?

luck: Yes, of course, quite decisively. Today, the realization of regenerative energies has indeed become a political topic with priority. A lot is happening regionally and locally. No one still relies exclusively on nuclear energy for power supply. It is also clear that energy policy is not limited to power supply. With regard to the environment, we also have to consider the entire mobility sector. We have a dramatic dependence on oil, which leads to deep sea drilling in order to get oil again as cheaply as possible – apparently cheaply – and a number of other things. There is more to an overall energy concept than just electricity. And if you always just look at how we can currently generate electricity, u.U. by extending the lifetimes of nuclear power plants, obtain the most favorable, and everything else fades out, the acts irresponsibly.

Interviewer: You were already considered a visionary in politics. And you are deeply rooted in the CSU and also in the Catholic Church – and always uncomfortable for both of them. In 2009, you became president of the Central Committee of German Catholics. What particularly moves you as a Christian on this ie of nuclear energy??

Happiness: Our long-term responsibility. That means a responsibility towards future generations with regard to the risks we leave behind. The responsibility towards creation, the question of environmental compatibility. It is about more than economics and as cheap as possible energy for growth. It is centrally about ethical questions. Interview: Monika Weib


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