* Grid operators say 2 reactors must be brought back online
* Say 2,000 MW needed or winter blackout possible in south
BERLIN, May 22 Germany's southern regions could
be hit by an electricity blackout this winter if seven nuclear
power plants taken offline in March remain down, power grid
operators have said.
The four operators, in a letter to the economy ministry
obtained by Reuters on Sunday, said imported power would not
cover the shortfall during the colder months unless some
customers were removed from the network.
"An independent supply of customers is in danger," Amprion,
Tennet, 50hertz and EnBW-Netze said, adding 2,000 megawatts --
around the capacity of two nuclear reactors -- was required to
ensure power supply when winter demand jumped.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has imposed a three-month
moratorium on operation of the oldest seven of Germany's 17
nuclear plants, after a massive earthquake and tsunami hit
Japanese reactors in March and led to environmental disaster.
Environment minister Norbert Roettgen has signalled the
seven plants taken offline will remain so. Merkel's cabinet will
decide on the country's nuclear exit strategy on June 6.
At the weekend, only four of Germany's plants were online,
due to the moratorium and maintenance operations. Germany's
network watchdog agency said power supplies were secure despite
the plants' being taken off the grid.
(Reporting by Markus Wacket; Writing by Brian Rohan; Editing by