Germany: Nuclear power plants to close by 2022

jetsetter

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Germany: Nuclear power plants to close by 2022
30 May 2011 Last updated at 08:25 ET

Germany's coalition government has announced a reversal of policy that will see all the country's nuclear power plants phased out by 2022.

The decision makes Germany the biggest industrial power to announce plans to give up nuclear energy.

Environment Minister Norbert Rottgen made the announcement following late-night talks.

Chancellor Angela Merkel set up a panel to review nuclear power following the crisis at Fukushima in Japan.

There have been mass anti-nuclear protests across Germany in the wake of March's Fukushima crisis, triggered by an earthquake and tsunami.

'Sustainable energy'

Mr Rottgen said the seven oldest reactors - which were taken offline for a safety review immediately after the Japanese crisis - would never be used again. An eighth plant - the Kruemmel facility in northern Germany, which was already offline and has been plagued by technical problems, would also be shut down for good.

Six others would go offline by 2021 at the latest and the three newest by 2022, he said.

Mr Rottgen said: "It's definite. The latest end for the last three nuclear power plants is 2022. There will be no clause for revision."

Mr Rottgen said a tax on spent fuel rods, expected to raise 2.3bn euros (?1.9bn) a year from this year, would remain despite the shutdown.

Mrs Merkel's centre-right Christian Democrats met their junior partners on Sunday after the ethics panel had delivered its conclusions.

Before the meeting she said: "I think we're on a good path but very, very many questions have to be considered.

"If you want to exit something, you also have to prove how the change will work and how we can enter into a durable and sustainable energy provision."

The previous German government - a coalition of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens - decided to shut down Germany's nuclear power stations by 2021.

However, last September Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition scrapped those plans - announcing it would extend the life of the country's nuclear reactors by an average of 12 years.

Ministers said they needed to keep nuclear energy as a "bridging technology" to a greener future.

The decision to extend was unpopular in Germany even before the radioactive leaks at the Fukushima plant.

But following Fukushima, Mrs Merkel promptly scrapped her extension plan, and announced a review.

Greens boosted

Germany's nuclear industry has argued that an early shutdown would be hugely damaging to the country's industrial base.

Before March's moratorium on the older power plants, Germany relied on nuclear power for 23% of its energy.

The anti-nuclear drive boosted Germany's Green party, which took control of the Christian Democrat stronghold of Baden-Wuerttemberg, in late March.

Shaun Burnie, nuclear adviser for environmental campaign group Greenpeace International, told the BBC World Service that Germany had already invested heavily in renewable energy.

"The various studies from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that renewables could deliver, basically, global electricity by 2050," he said.

"Germany is going to be ahead of the game on that and it is going to make a lot of money, so the message to Germany's industrial competitors is that you can base your energy policy not on nuclear, not on coal, but on renewables."

Shares in German nuclear utilities RWE and E.On fell on the news, though it had been widely expected.

But it was good news for manufacturers of renewable energy infrustructure.

German solar manufacturer, Solarworld, was up 7.6% whilst Danish wind turbine maker Vestas gained more than 3%.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13592208

Ugh..........I weep for the stupidity of your politicans Germany. :rolleyes:
 

ViperVX

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No way in hell. They'll drag this thong around until everyone forgets about Japan, then they'll flash the rising energy consumption and rising prices card, everyone will take a look at their thinning wallets and agree to to extend the service of those and build four new plants.
 

MWF

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Sadly I think ours are likely to be similarly stupid. :(
 

DarkReaper

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FU Germany!

Hearing stupid shit like this makes me not want to return there!
 
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narf

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Ugh..........I weep for the stupidity of your politicans Germany. :rolleyes:

Indeed. It's not just the politicians though, they are only the vane in the election wind. Remember, we now have the first ever green-party state prime minister in Baden-W?rttemberg (that's where Porsche, Merc, Audi, Bosch "live" ... you can imagine, he's the most car-friendly green-party member ever. Lay a finger on cars there, boom, no re-election.) Everyone is desperately trying to win back the spontaneous greenists.
 

Dogbert

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No way in hell. They'll drag this thong around until everyone forgets about Japan, then they'll flash the rising energy consumption and rising prices card, everyone will take a look at their thinning wallets and agree to to extend the service of those and build four new plants.
This. There was similar kneejerk backlash over Three Mile Island. I give all this anti-nuclear sentiment another five years or so.
 

AiR

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Ugh..........I weep for the stupidity of your politicans Germany. :rolleyes:
Once again we are in agreement.

My own enviromental minister has this to say
The Local said:
Sweden's environment minister Andreas Carlgren has criticised Germany's decision to decommission its nuclear power stations as "unrealistic".

"To focus so strongly on which year nuclear power is to be wound down raises the risk that the key issue is missed: how are we to meet the dual challenge of both cutting nuclear power dependency and of climate emissions," Carlgren told the TT news agency, adding that he is glad that in Sweden the notion of a fixed deadline has been discarded.

Just as Carlgren says, Germanys decision is unrealistic. 25 years ago, we hade a popular vote (where there were three options, all of them to close) where it was decided to close all nuclear power plants by 2010. And now it's 2011 and we've realized we need more nuclear power, not less. I hope Germany will realize this too, because if they don't they will bring enormous increases in pollution to the European continent as a direct consequence of having to replace their clean nuclear energy with dirty coal and fossil fuel imports from Russia.

We'll also be seeing power companies suing the german government and german industries further their outsourcing of production to countries with lower overall costs.

I really don't understand how Germany, being characterised as a nation of sense and logic, came to be so infected with mindless greenies.
 
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narf

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I really don't understand how Germany, being characterised as a nation of sense and logic, came to be so infected with mindless greenies.

The way Fukushima was covered over here contributed a lot. Think panic-fest.
 

Firecat

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Long term, I think it's better to utilize renewables over nuclear. 11 years might be too short a period to realize that though, renewables just aren't in a position to compete. One can't have it both ways though...i.e. increase both nuclear and renewables. One has to be favored over the other, and if the end goal is renewable energy then you have to start decreasing your other sources at some point.

So I actually think Germany is doing the right thing. You can call it reactionary, but sometimes it takes a disaster to get on the right track.

By the way, we still haven't figured out a way to dispose of radioactive waste....so perhaps that should be done prior to more plants going online.
 

narf

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Intending to some day build a new plant would intensify the efforts towards storage/disposal though. Slamming the door shut on that will allow some people to let that slide.
 

Firecat

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That's true. I think the key issue is sustainability. A decision needs to be made on what technology to focus on. Of course, what works for one country may not work for another.
 

argatoga

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Don't worry Germany, France will happily sell you power.
 

jmsprovan

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i hear that magnitude 9.0 earthquakes and accompanying tsunamis are quite common in Germany
 

DanRoM

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i hear that magnitude 9.0 earthquakes and accompanying tsunamis are quite common in Germany
I bet that none of the German nuclear power plants are designed to withstand 9.0 earthquakes - they would be destroyed by much weaker quakes. But those are not common here neither. Probably none of them would withstand a 747 crashing right into it, though.

In my opinion - and it seems that's the opinion of the majority in Germany for once - switching away from nuclear energy is the right thing to do. Safety and disposal are non-solved problems. We need to switch to renewable energy sources, and we need an ambitious timetable for that because that's the only way things will ever get started.
But I also think that only ten years are not enough to achieve that simply because how long it takes to get something big built in this country. And the greenies will protest and go to court against solar or wind or water power stations too, whereever they shall be built. Because, you know, windmills, solar panels and power lines ruin the landscape...
 

narf

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:nod: all a bunch of NIMBYs.

I like the view of the Kiel powerstation across the fjord supplying me with juicy electricity and hot water.
Sailing through offshore wind parks is lovely.

:dunno: what their problem is.
 

jmsprovan

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I bet that none of the German nuclear power plants are designed to withstand 9.0 earthquakes - they would be destroyed by much weaker quakes. But those are not common here neither. Probably none of them would withstand a 747 crashing right into it, though.

In my opinion - and it seems that's the opinion of the majority in Germany for once - switching away from nuclear energy is the right thing to do. Safety and disposal are non-solved problems. We need to switch to renewable energy sources, and we need an ambitious timetable for that because that's the only way things will ever get started.
But I also think that only ten years are not enough to achieve that simply because how long it takes to get something big built in this country. And the greenies will protest and go to court against solar or wind or water power stations too, whereever they shall be built. Because, you know, windmills, solar panels and power lines ruin the landscape...

More people have died from burning Peat than have died from Nuclear and they are designed to take a hit from a large plane, there is a video floating around of a plane flying into nuclear reactor grade reinforced concrete and completely atomising. Regardless of what people who like to scaremonger say, nuclear is safer than all other large scale forms of energy production at the moment, the facts are out there for all to see.

Waste production is a problem, but the next generation of nuclear plants in development either use existing waste as fuel (Travelling Wave Reactor) or produce waste than can be disposed of in 20 years instead of 2000 years (Thorium Reactors). The reactors that are creating the waste problems of today are 1950s technology.
 
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