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Volume 2 | Issue 5 | Page 6 | Oct 2011
No More Nuclear in Germany
Martin Storz/Graffiti/Greenpeace
Greenpeace volunteers protest in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, against the extended runtime of the nuclear power plant Neckarwestheim. A banner reads (in German), "Mr. Mappus, shut down Neckarwestheim!"

Germany has committed to shutting down all of its nuclear reactors by 2022, making it the biggest industrial power to go nuclear-free. Prompted by the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, the German government has committed to finding alternative sources for almost a quarter of its energy within the next ten years.

The move has created a challenge that some German ministers have likened in scale to the reunification of the country in 1990.

Under the German plan, the country's eight oldest reactors—most of which were taken offline for a safety review after the Fukushima disaster—would not return to service. Nine others would go offline by 2022. Electricity use can be cut by ten percent in the next decade through energy efficiency savings, planners believe.

They also intend to increase the share of wind energy. However, an increased reliance on wind energy would mean reconfiguring the electricity distribution system. The atomic power stations exist in the south, while much of the additional wind power would come from farms on the North Sea.

And this is not the only obstacle to becoming nuclear-free. Environmental groups are already voicing concerns about protecting the rolling, forested hills of central Germany.

Some independent analysts told the BBC that reliance on coal power will increase, if the wind plans don’t fulfill their potential. However, the German chancellor Angela Merkel remains confident, declaring, “We believe we as a country can be a trailblazer for a new age of renewable energy sources.”

Comments (3)

Germany's Nuclear Decision - Implications for the US

Germany's nuclear decision is a relatively easy one. If it were France, which relies on Nuclear for more than 60% of its energy, it would be a different issue.

In the US, we consume about 8.5 Short Tons of Oil Equivalent Energy (STOE) per capita per annum. This compares to about 4.5 STOE per capita for Germany, which is hardly an industrial backwater. Buildings (commercial and residential) in the US account for about 3.4 TOE per capita. That's about 75% of the energy that Germany uses for EVERYTHING. And Germany has a very high standard of living.

So........ the challenges for the US are monumental but - I think - we ought to be demanding that builders and developers (and the banks that fund them) are required to meet far stricter energy consumption criteria than exist today. I'm not advocating more prescriptive regulations - I'm arguing for performance targets that must be met before planning or building approvals can be given. The construction industry in the US is way behind the 8-ball when it comes to innovation - especially in housing and materials. Its time we (the people) began demanding far more than the low-performance junk that so often gets built around the edges of our cities.

Germany getting rid of

Germany getting rid of nuclear is game-over for climate change. How can this not even be argued in article in a website that concerns itself with the environment. This is why Hansen and over 90% of climate scientists support it. Not because it's perfect but because it is one of the best current solutions we have. This is incredibly irresponsible and definately not green.

"In last week’s New Scientist, David Strahan points out that Germany’s decision to shut its nuclear plants will, despite its massive investment in new renewables, create an extra 300 million tonnes of carbon dioxide between now and 2020. That will cancel out almost all the savings (335Mt) brought about in the entire European Union by the new Energy Efficiency Directive." http://www.monbiot.com/2011/08/08/the-moral-case-for-nuclear-power/

See also

No More!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading “ No More Nuclear in Germany.” I’ve grown up in a German family but I still know little about my ancestors, or Germany. I have read about the nuclear disaster in Fukushima Japan. I agree with Germany that they need to shut down their nuclear reactors. It is very smart of German chancellor, Angela Merkel to put this into action and thinking of other ways to bring fourth energy in healthier ways. There are many ways to produce energy: wind power, hydro power, solar energy, biomass, biofuels, or geothermal energy.

Chelsea Snedden, Chicago, 17