RWE has applied for an electricity generation transfer to extend the life of its Biblis A nuclear power plant into 2011.

RWE Power submitted an application to the German Federal Ministry for the Environment requesting approval for the transfer of electricity output to block A of the Biblis nuclear power plant. The application was also filed with the Federal Chancellery and the Federal Ministry of Economics.

The RWE subsidiary intends to transfer 30 terawatt hours to the Biblis facility from the electricity allowance of its Mulheim-Karlich nuclear power plant, which is being dismantled.

This measure would enable the service life of block A to be extended approximately through to the second half of 2011. This would allow an alignment of the lifetime of block B, which will most probably run until the second half of 2011 due to a transfer of 21.45 terawatt hours from the Mulheim-Karlich allowance, which does not need approval.

RWE Power said that the transfer would not result in a change in total electricity production. The company also said that continued operation of Biblis A beyond 2008, which would be made possible by a transfer, would make both economic and business sense.

Nuclear power plants are currently one of the most affordable options for generating base-load electricity and, all in all, these power plants cover about a quarter of Germany’s demand for electric power. Shutting down these facilities would tighten supply with implications for electricity prices, RWE Power claims.

We have merely applied for a very reasonable extension until 2011. This just allows leeway for conducting an open debate on the energy policy concept, taking into account the role of nuclear power without foregone conclusions, Jan Zilius, chairman of the executive board of RWE Power, commented. We hope that the government will stay open to these arguments and take a positive decision in the near future.

While RWE remains positive about the application, the move has been condemned by environmental groups Bund and Nabu, Platts reports.