Merkel supports nuclear power plant extension

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday that the lifespan of the nation's nuclear power plants should be extended by 10 to 15 years beyond the planned phase-out starting in 2021.

An extension of 10 to 15 years was "technically reasonable," the chancellor said in an interview with TV channel ARD.

Merkel's conclusions were based on a report by experts, widely quoted by German media on Saturday, which recommended an extension of 12 to 20 years to allow "the best outcomes for climate protection and the economy".

The phasing out of 17 German nuclear power plants starting in 2021 had been planned by Merkel's predecessor Gerhard Schroeder.

Merkel's government, however, pushed back the programme and had not fixed a new timetable for the phase-out.

In a statement on Friday, Merkel said renewable energies should supply half of all energy needs by 2050 and that nuclear and coal power would continue until supplies could be met entirely by clean energy.

A poll published on Friday found that 56 percent of Germans are against keeping nuclear power plants beyond 2021.

The Greens have called for an anti-nuclear demonstration to take place on Wednesday in Berlin.

© 2010 AFP

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