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Ministry: Fixes needed at German nuclear plant

September 19, 2022

The Isar 2 plant in Bavaria is set to close down for about a week while it undergoes maintenance to repair a leak. The Environment Ministry says the reactor damage will not result in any safety compromises.

Isar 2 in Bavaria, Germany
A valve leak has been discovered at the Isar 2 nuclear plant in southern GermanyImage: Jan Woitas/dpa/picture alliance

The operator of Germany's Isar 2 nuclear power plant has informed the government of a leak at the site, the Environment Ministry announced on Monday.

E.ON, one of Europe's largest energy network operators, has informed the federal government — as per German law — of the leak at the Isar 2 plant in Bavaria. The site had been planned to go offline at the end of the year under the country's plan to phase out nuclear power.

Though the damage to the reactor poses no threat to public safety, it does come at a time when the German government is hastily arranging its winter energy plan in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The subsequent plunge in energy imports from Russia since the conflict broke out has prompted a policy change in Berlin, with the government now planning to keep two of Germany's three remaining reactors, including Isar 2, on standby into 2023.

A nuclear power comeback in Germany?

One week shutdown in October

According to the ministry — officially the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection Ministry — a weeklong maintenance period was required in October at the plant, which is run by E.ON subsidiary PreussenElektra. During this period operations would stop entirely.

An spokesperson said E.ON was confident that a framework allowing Isar 2 to continue contributing toward Germany's power supply security beyond December 31 could be agreed with the federal government.

"Due to the necessary lead times, however, it is now necessary for the ongoing political discussions to quickly lead to a clear result and for all those involved to create planning security as quickly as possible," the spokesperson said.

Germany's Environment Ministry announced that, together with the Economic Affairs and Climate Action Ministry, it was "examining the new situation and its implications for the design and implementation of the standby reserve" of the Isar 2 site.

jsi/aw (AFP, Reuters, dpa)