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France urges EU to tackle issue of a non-nuclear Germany

17th June 2011, Comments0 comments

France's Energy Minister Eric Besson is urging the European Commission to tackle the knock-on effects of Germany's decision to abandon nuclear power, fearing energy supplies problems, in a letter seen Friday.

"Our national decisions can have a substantial impact on the balance between electricity demand and supply in other European Union nations," Besson wrote, without referring specifically to Germany's decision to go nuclear-free by 2022.

In the letter addressed to EU energy tsar Guenther Oettinger, a copy of which was seen by AFP, Besson said the EU's executive arm should ask the European electricity grid managers to analyse the national consequences of the decision in the short-, medium- and long-term.

Besson also calls for an alert cell to be set up "capable to react to all critical situations this summer".

Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet signed this month on a package of bills, prompted by Japan's Fukushima disaster, that foresee Europe's biggest economy being nuclear-free by 2022, and at a faster pace than envisaged.

Germany's nine reactors currently on line are due to be turned off between 2015 and 2022.

The seven oldest reactors were already switched off after Japan's massive March 11 earthquake and a tsunami knocked out cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, causing reactors to overheat and radiation to leak.

Some EU nations have since reproached Berlin for not consulting its European partners before announcing the decision.

The German move could have particular consequences for France which imports electricity from its neighbour.

© 2011 AFP

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