Germany: Nuclear power plants to close by 2022

Dr_Grip

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gaasc

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Possibly.

However, since the topic came up, I was reminded of something that came up a couple of months ago and may perhaps be a more nuanced take. A study by the NBER titled "THE PRIVATE AND EXTERNAL COSTS OF GERMANY'S NUCLEAR PHASE-OUT", published in December 2019 (source). An excerpt:

In aggregate, the phase-out led to an increase in CO2 emissions of 36.3 Mt per year. This corresponds to a 13% increase relative to the scenario without the nuclear phase-out.

This increase in CO2 emissions was primarily attributable to an increase in emissions from hard coal plants of 25.8 Mt, with lignite and gas making up the remainder. Valuing carbon emissions at a social cost of carbon of $50/tCO2, the phase-out results in estimated climate change damages of $1.8 billion.

The phase-out also led to a roughly 12% increase in the total emissions of each the three local air pollutants we consider (SO2, NOx, and PM).

[...]


Put another way, the phase-out resulted in more than 1,100 additional deaths per year from increased concentrations of SO2, NOx, and PM. The increase in production from hard coal plants is again the key driver here, making up roughly 80% of the increase in mortality impacts.



Perhaps it would've been a better strategy to replace the nuclear plants with more modern designs, especially in the light of recent events wherein the EU Comission has received documents from their Joint Research Comission that “The analyses did not reveal any science-based evidence that nuclear energy does more harm to human health or to the environment than other electricity production technologies” in light of still ongoing debates (as of August) about labeling nuclear as a "green investment", with France, Finland, and others at the head.

As 2022 approaches, perhaps Germany should at least open the floor to considerations about construction of new, safer nuclear power plants.
 
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Cellos88GT

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Based on what? ?‍♂️
Based on increases in energy importation from France and energy generation via Natural Gas the latter now resulting on a dependence and reliance relationship of said Natural Gas from the Russians. Sounds like a great strategy moving forward.
 
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eizbaer

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As 2022 approaches, perhaps Germany should at least open the floor to considerations about construction of new, safer nuclear power plants.
At least some RWE person started prominently this week that there’s no way they’re going to run nuclear any longer than currently planned or sth along those lines.

If it were up to me, I’d gladly switch coal vs nuclear - ie have coal phased out by 22, nuclear by 38 (probably earlier).

With regards to gas: the argument doesn’t hold. Gas plants supply short term peaks, nuclear is base load. More/continued nuclear would have an extremely minimal effect (if any) on the operation of gas plants. I agree that using NG as a „bridge fuel“ towards more renewables is dumb and that north stream 2 should never have been commissioned/built. It is entirely unnecessary.
 

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Based on increases in energy importation from France
Wait, what?

Germany is exporting more electricity to France than it is importing from France.

chart.png
 

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At least some RWE person started prominently this week that there’s no way they’re going to run nuclear any longer than currently planned or sth along those lines.

How unfortunate. With aggressive climate goals, the pressing need for more energy for everything from BEVs to green hydrogen, I do hope they don't outright leave it off the table.
 

eizbaer

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Well, at this point it probably is just too late… ne nuclear would take way too long to get online and costs an arm and a leg. Would’ve been reasonable to keep running the existing plants and maybe would be a different situation of Germany hadn’t been very firm and decided about the 22 end of nuclear for the last ten years ?‍♂️

Stumbled across this, fittingly enough:
1635221090699.png
 
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Cellos88GT

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Wait, what?

Germany is exporting more electricity to France than it is importing from France.

I stand corrected but my guess is that market has been manipulated such that it is more advantageous for France to sell power to the UK, Italy, and Benelux than it is to Germany. Either way, the CO2 output since the Nuclear phase out is embarassing in addition to the fact that Russia will now have the EU by the balls.
 

calvinhobbes

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my guess is that market has been manipulated
Of course it is. :ROFLMAO: When economic realities disprove your fanciful ideas of "cheap nuclear power", it must be due to manipulation. Can't possibly be because the power stations are some of the most expensive boondoggles ever conceived as well as uninsurable.
 

Cellos88GT

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Of course it is. :ROFLMAO: When economic realities disprove your fanciful ideas of "cheap nuclear power", it must be due to manipulation. Can't possibly be because the power stations are some of the most expensive boondoggles ever conceived as well as uninsurable.
Well, when the average consumer in France is paying 12.92 euro cents per kWh vs. 32.10 euro cents per kWh in Germany, its clear there are some pricing shenanigans going on.
At the risk of repeating myself ... wait, what?

View attachment 3563439
That's CO2 per kWh for the German grid.
Do those figures account for the CO2 emitted in Poland and Czechia on account of German power needs? I don't think so, moreover, relative to France:
Screen Shot 2021-12-29 at 10.40.14 AM.png
those figures are still embarassing.
 
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narf

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Do those figures account for the CO2 emitted in Poland and Czechia on account of German power needs?

I'm not sure which ones those are, there are two figures - I think one is "electricity made here" and one is "electricity consumed here", factoring in both exports and imports. Butt, they're about 1-2% different so it doesn't really matter which one the chart is.

I don't think so, moreover, relative to France:
View attachment 3563470 those figures are still embarassing.
Want embarrassing? Almost 30% of French power plants are currently down, and France is importing record amounts of electricity from all its neighbours... like every winter, basically.
Additionally, their newest plant is still under construction for 15 years, with an originally planned time of five years to go-live... and so far about 4x the cost. https://www.iwr.de/news/stromausfal...en-atomkraftwerke-sind-abgeschaltet-news37748

Here's the last-31d-chart for German-French electricity exchange, it's slanted _heavily_ towards Germany sending power to the west:
1640812699606.png

Blue charts is France, purple line is Germany's total with all countries. https://www.agora-energiewende.de/s...er_import_export/28.11.2021/29.12.2021/today/
Basically, German power plants ensured that French Christmas celebrations weren't held in the cold.


As for prices, your 13c is way off, it's apparently 18c: https://de.globalpetrolprices.com/France/electricity_prices/
In case you didn't know, government intervention is preventing higher prices there https://www.mdr.de/nachrichten/welt/politik/frankreich-deckelt-strom-und-gaspreise-100.html
 

Cellos88GT

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Want embarrassing? Almost 30% of French power plants are currently down, and France is importing record amounts of electricity from all its neighbours... like every winter, basically.

Importing so they can maintain their exports to UK, Italy, and Benelux. The plants being down is temporary.

As for prices, your 13c is way off, it's apparently 18c: https://de.globalpetrolprices.com/France/electricity_prices/
In case you didn't know, government intervention is preventing higher prices there https://www.mdr.de/nachrichten/welt/politik/frankreich-deckelt-strom-und-gaspreise-100.html

A 5c matters little when the prices in Germany are still 2x-3x higher. Gov't intervention is recent. One can look back at prices historically and see that renewable transformation has not led to lower energy prices for German consumers. Moreover, the inability to reliably count on solar and wind energy will always create an environment where the German grid will have to scramble to adequately source it elsewhere. This does not lead to a stable energy market. I imagine Germany will roll out more natural gas plants to operate on a standby basis but as I mentioned earlier, that creates a dependency on Russia which is incredibly stupid.

I'm also looking forward to where and how Germany plans to dispose of all of the worn-out windmill blades and solar panels.
 

Cellos88GT

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We'll figure that out once France figures out a million-year-storage for its nuclear waste.
Million-year storage is unnecessary once you have transitioned to breeder reactors, I imagine some time down the road civilization will realize that nuclear proliferation was nothing more than a political bogeyman.
 

Dr_Grip

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Million-year storage is unnecessary once you have transitioned to breeder reactors, I imagine some time down the road civilization will realize that nuclear proliferation was nothing more than a political bogeyman.
While I am not sure that Germany's exit from nuclear energy was the right tradeoff between long-term waste problem and cost on the one hand and having short-term zero emission energy to combat climate change on the other hand, your view of nuclear is not realistic as well I believe.

The reason we are not "transitioning to breeder reactors" is that these make a technology that is already prohibitively expensive even more expensive, so even with government subsidies it's not viable.

While nuclear may be a short-term solution to climate change, it is by no means a free or even cheap source of energy and anyone who thinks so obviously has no grasp of economics.
 
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narf

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In case you didn't know, government intervention is preventing higher prices there https://www.mdr.de/nachrichten/welt/politik/frankreich-deckelt-strom-und-gaspreise-100.html
More government intervention: https://www.faz.net/aktuell/wirtsch...reis-anstieg-macrons-massnahmen-17730893.html
TL;DR:
- electricity taxes are slashed to lower inflation ahead of this year's elections
- power company forced to sell at under half the market price
- gas prices artificially capped
- people in multiple regions are asked to cut their electricity use during certain hours of the day
 
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