BERLIN, March 29 (Reuters) - Germany should permanently shut the seven nuclear plants built before 1980 that the government temporarily idled earlier this month, the deputy leader of Free Democrats said on Tuesday.
Christian Lindner, general secretary of the FDP that is junior coalition partners to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, said after a Sunday election defeat that the FDP now favours permanently shutting the seven reactors.
Germany has a total of 17 reactors. Merkel's government passed legislation last year to extend the lifespan of the 17 nuclear plants by an average of 12 years beyond a previous 2022 cutoff date. The FDP has been strongly pro-nuclear until now.
Reporting by Thorsten Severin; writing by Brian Rohan and Erik Kirschbaum