Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Germany Will Phase Out All Nuclear Energy Within One Decade... What About Us?


Last March we noted that the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima had repercussions for the right-wing government in Berlin. Germany's most consistently conservative state government fell to the Greens. And, compared to the U.S., Germany actually has a pretty progressive policy towards a renewable energy future. Our own country's political elites don't seem to have the inclination or the will to change course on nuclear power. It's part of the reason Blue America has been so supportive of Norman Solomon's congressional candidacy. Norman:
The facts all point to this “inconvenient truth”-- the time has come to shut down California’s two nuclear power plants as part of a swift transition to an energy policy focused on clean and green renewable sources and conservation.

The Diablo Canyon plant near San Luis Obispo and the San Onofre plant on the southern California coast are vulnerable to meltdowns from earthquakes and threaten both residents and the environment.

Reactor safety is just one of the concerns. Each nuclear power plant creates radioactive waste that will remain deadly for thousands of years. This is not the kind of legacy that we should leave for future generations.

In the wake of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown, we need a basic rethinking of the USA’s nuclear energy use and oversight. There is no more technologically advanced country in the world than Japan. Nuclear power isn’t safe there, and it isn’t safe anywhere.

...Our tax dollars should not be used to subsidize the nuclear power industry. Instead, we should be investing far more in solar, wind and other renewable sources, along with serious energy conservation.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is a nuclear-friendly fox guarding the radioactive chicken coop. The federal government has no business promoting this dangerous industry while safe and sustainable energy resources are readily available.

Is this the way you feel about nuclear energy as well? Not many candidates for Congress would agree. And it's a perspective desperately needed inside the Democratic caucus. Please consider helping Norman Solomon get his message out in one of the congressional districts where people are likeliest to see it the same way. You can contribute to his election campaign here.

Back to Germany for a moment. Over the weekend 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.

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."

Germany, which depends on nuclear plants for nearly a quarter of its electric energy production, plans to make up for the loss with wind and solar energy, two areas in which it is technologically way ahead of the U.S., thanks to the relentless opposition of Big Oil in this country, along with their lapdog Republican and Blue Dog allies. Progressives all over the country are beginning to deploy aggressive clean energy agendas as electoral strategies, from Nick Ruiz in Florida to a new candidate we'll be hearing more from later this week, Dan Powers in Minnesota.

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At 9:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reality will hit Germans when they are forced to import electricity from France to fill vill the void. Eighty percent of the energy imported from France will be nuclear power. How ironic.

At 11:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...you forgot to mention that one nuclear plant is special, as it remains "shut down" (actuall this term does not really apply to nuclear plants), but on "standby", for the case of electricity holes (even if it takes one full day to bring it online again). But, they are also replacing all older wind power plants with the latest and greatest, which produce much more energy than the older (four of the newest plants produce energy like ten of the older plants). And, the wind based energy produced in remote locations, i.e. at the sea, must be transported to the consumers ... and the transport lines are currently an open issue, they must be build first.

I'm writing from Switzerland and we too will shut down the oldest plants and get out from the nuclear.


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