BERLIN, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Extending the lifetime of Germany's remaining three nuclear power plants would reduce the price of electricity in the country by 4 percent in 2023, according to the ifo Institute for Economic Research on Wednesday.
The nuclear power plants could provide around 4 percent of Germany's electricity demand, the Institute said. At the same time, the share of natural gas in power generation would decline from 8.3 percent to 7.6 percent.
However, extending the lives of the nuclear plants is "not a 1:1 replacement for natural gas," said ifo electricity expert Mathias Mier.
With the availability of natural gas this coming winter still unknown, it could "make sense to keep the option of nuclear power open beyond a crisis-related, short-term lifetime extension next year," the institute said.
Despite soaring prices for gas and electricity, Minister for Economic Affairs Robert Habeck has said he only plans to keep two nuclear power plants on standby as an emergency option until April 2023.
Since the end of August, no gas has been flowing from Russia to Germany via the important Nord Stream 1 pipeline. After maintenance work, gas deliveries were suspended due to faults at the Potovaya compressor station, according to Germany's Federal Network Agency (BNetzA).
Under former Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany accelerated its nuclear phase-out after the Fukushima disaster in 2011.
The country's nuclear power plants are still scheduled to be taken off the grid by the end of the year at the latest, and Habeck has said the phase-out will not be reversed.
"Nuclear power is and continues to be a high-risk technology, and the highly radioactive waste will be a problem for many future generations," he said.
Only 12 percent of Germans support the completion of the phase-out as planned by the end of this year, according to a survey published by public broadcaster ZDF. As the energy crisis worsens, a majority wants to keep the country's remaining nuclear power plants running. ■