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Germany decides to abandon nuclear power by 2022

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From the Russian point of view, thank you! If Germany can get addicted to the Russian natural gas feeder line, it isn't difficult to foresee a new scenario in Europe. Nuclear power is clean and safe. Earthquakes don't cause nuclear disasters; tsunamis cause them. There is 100% no chance of a tsunami in Germany.

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This is a huge decision. Of course once the oil runs out, there may be a problem. Solar/wind/"renewable" energy is not going to cut it.

"Nuclear power is clean and safe"

Unless you live anywhere near a nuclear plant with melted fuel rods and leaking radioactivity all over the place.

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Considering the Fukushima plant had safely taken earthquakes for years and only after a massive one in addition to a tsunami did it fail I can see no reason why the Germans should be concerned with anything remotely similar happening to their plants. I find it especially stupid considering how well nuclear energy has been doing in many European nations with virtually no incident. The only blotch being Chernobyl and that was due to the absolute poorest Russian construction imaginable, they didn't even shield the reactor.

By all means develop renewables. There's a lot of progress to be made in them. But do so along side a sensible revamping of current energy systems.

From the Russian point of view, thank you!

That’s what I was thinking. Renewables sound lovely up until the harsh reality of economic feasibility kicks in, then they'll be sucking down oil and natural gas through the pipelines like everyone else. With peak oil on the horizon I've got far more faith in new nuclear tech than any renewable on the market.

Unless you live anywhere near a nuclear plant with melted fuel rods and leaking radioactivity all over the place.

If facilities were shut down and newer ones built or, you know, run properly none of the three major nuclear incidents would have ever happened. As it stands the plants in operation today should have been retired years ago and been replaced with newer ones with up to date safety systems.

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Of course they will pay/borrow power from France, Italy and etc.

What a bunch of idiots ! ! ! Nuclear power is safe !!!!

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alternate energy is great but it just doesnt cut it scale wise at the moment..unless we want to keep pumping carbon into the atmosphere, nuclear is the way for the forseeable future..

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Fusion is not ready yet but will eventually I hope. Solar, wind, hydro-electric are safer than nuclear fission. Nuclear is not safe. It is convenient.

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"Nuclear power is clean and safe"

Which is of course why you have run to Fukushima to take advantage of plummeting land prices!

The Fukushima disaster may have been primarily triggered by tsunami, but that is not to say that a more massive earthquake could not have caused similar problems. Other disasters could certainly hit Germany, including a terrorist attack on a nuclear power plant, or an accident. Its always a gamble, but in the case of Germany, I would say it is a far safer gamble than in Japan. It should be Japan making this declaration, not Germany.

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Looks like a good time to buy more stocks from EDF.

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I think the point is that you really never know what can happen in the future. And if something bad does happen, it could be the end of things in Germany. Right choice? Not sure.....the benefits of nuclear power are clear....but the potential for a disaster is always there and can't be ignored.

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For all the nuclear power plants around the world, there have been less than a handful of serious nuclear accidents in which people suffered radiation-caused deaths. And the number of people who have died directly from radiation emitted from nuclear power plants in the last 50 years has been less than one year's worth of airplane accident victims.

Is Fukushima a disaster? Of Course! Is it terrible that 3 nuclear cores melted down and that radiation leaked out? Of Course! Is it dangerous around the plant? Of course.

Instead, we have Germany and other countries quickly abandoning nuclear power in favor of coal and gas because they fear that something 'Might' happen in the future. I guess that Global Warming thing that the reactionaries worried about last year is passe now. We won't hear anymore about eco or green technology because a lot of it relies on electricty instead of gas, and to get electricity without CO2, most countries were turning to nuclear energy as the safe, clean method of getting electricity. But not anymore. Forget the clean skies and cooler temperatures. Full speed ahead on those coal-burning power plants.

Well,Germany, if you fear that a 9.0 earthquake and 20m high tsunami will suddenly attack your country... then I have news for you, the world has likely ended and its doubtful that anyone will be alive to care whether a nuclear power plant's cooling systems will be turned on or off.

In the meantime, all the Germans will have to pay higher gas and electric bills as the country buys its electricity from the nuclear power plants in France, and its gas from Russia and the Middle East.

Way to go, Germany!

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Number of coal mining deaths in 2010: about 3000 Gas mining accidents in 2010: about 1000 Uranium mining deaths in 2010: Zero, zip, zilch

Coal power plant deaths in 2010: about 240 000 (lung cancer, asthma, etc.) Gas line explosion deaths in 2010: about 1000 (2 high-profile explosions in the U.S. alone) Nuclear power plant deaths in 2010: Zero, zip, zilch

Nuclear power has a FAR better track record than gas or coal, and while a single nuclear accident causes a lot more damage than a single gas or coal accident if one averages it over a decade Nuclear power comes out the clear winner in terms of safety.

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TheQuestion: "Considering the Fukushima plant had safely taken earthquakes for years and only after a massive one in addition to a tsunami did it fail I can see no reason why the Germans should be concerned with anything remotely similar happening to their plants"

You miss the point; they are taking the initiative and moving away from unsafe, unstable power sources and trying to help the world instead of being a detriment like Japan. You can't really say a grenade sitting in your living room is safe simply because it hasn't gone off yet.

What's Japan doing? Figuring out how they can still build those 14 more plants they want to build while duping the public into thinking they are safe. Companies are still, as we speak, asking TEPCO not to cancel construction projects for more plants.

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This die hard decision seems too risky, and it is a big gamble for the future of Germany who intends to show the world the best of German way.

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A truly wrong headed decision by Germany. I think it will be reversed as Germans come to understand the importance of having reliable electric power. Wind, and particlularly solar will not be the answer for Germany which does not have high solar flux any time of the year. Germany has subsidized solar to the point that some farmers make more from solar than from crops. Some dairies use diesel powered generators to power their milking sheds so they can sell more solar power to the grid. This distortion in costs for power will create high costs for the German economy.

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For those who still advocate Nuclear Power maybe you would like to start eating the sheep that roam around Sizewell and add some potatoes from Chernobyl. The ground around all power plants has a certain amount of contamination and as this could last upto 10 000 years it is not like you can start living on the land anymore. Yes you can produce statistics with regard safety but maybe it will look different in a 1000 years time. What Germany is doing is both foolish and brave but at least it is something different.

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This is a huge shift. Germany gets about 25% of its power from nuclear plants, while wind energy accounts for about 17%. They hope to double wind energy to about 35%, but that still wouldn't be enough even if their power requirements remain the same. Also, most of their wind power is in the north, while most of their nuclear plants are in the south, so that means they also have to change their power grid.

Doubtful they could make it work; they'd probably change their mind once 2022 comes and they still don't have enough power without nuclear. Also, Merkel's party are currently unpopular and looking for votes, and anti-nuclear is currently popular with the German public.

However, if this actually works, then it's a big deal. If Germany, one of the top economies in the world, could make do without nuclear power, then it shows it can be done in a big scale.

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A truly wise decision by Germany. History will show them to be right. Hopefully other nations will follow their lead and invest more resources into developing viable alternatives.

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Yay! 25% isn't much if conservation efforts are also doubled while other sources are added.

I have every expectation it will work. Note that if it does, the naysayers will have to eat crow. Even better, they'll have to get out of the way.

Hurry Germany!

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Lostrune2:

I like to add some numbers. One week ago I had a chance to read the German Newspaper "die Zeit" (19th May), which had an extensive article on wind-energy in Germany. In short, 2 percent of Area in Germany if used properly to set up for wind-energy can deliver up to 65 percent of the energy consumed. Already, 4 prefectures (Mecklenburg, Schleswig-Hostein, Sachsen-Anhalt, and Brandenburg) provide approx. 50 percent of the netto power consumed by wind energy. The highest installed power can be found in Niedersachsen (6664 Mega-Watt). The smallest installed power is in the 3 prefectures Baden-Wuertemberg, Bayern, and Hessen, each. approx. 500 Mega-Watt.

For background information and sources, see the IWES (Fraunhofer-Institute for Wind-energy and Energy-systems).

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Populist grand-standing by Merkel. Of course her decision is 10 years off, so another party will have to deal with it. Which is so typical for politicians... make stupid promises to as cheap vote getters, and then hand the buck to someone else.

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In the meantime, all the Germans will have to pay higher gas and electric bills as the country buys its electricity from the nuclear power plants in France, and its gas from Russia and the Middle East.

Who cares about the future and health if its going to cost more money, right?

The article says the plan is to increase use of renewable energies and reduce CO2 all at the same time, but you just glossed right over those.

Of course it will be difficult and cost money too, but I am glad to see someone make the effort. The Germans have made great leaps when it comes to recycling, something your typical American has no idea about, and so I hope they can do the same with learning to live without nuclear power.

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@ TheQuestion

Renewables sound lovely up until the harsh reality of economic feasibility kicks

along with,

As it stands the plants in operation today should have been retired years ago and been replaced with newer ones with up to date safety systems.

Now why were those new plants not built. I didn't know that nuclear reactors came financially free. Seems to me there is a contradiction here.

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In the IT industry where I work we see human error as an unavoidable. That's why we measure system availability/ up-time (with 6-sigma, etc.). Also, no back-up system/safety measures are failsafe, just as no lock is un-pickable. As long as there are functioning nuclear reactors there will be problems with them - even with the best of intentions and measures.

"Nuclear power is one hell of a way to boil water."

-Albert Einstein

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What they don't tell you about Nucular Power (excuse the "Bush" spelling), is what they do with the spent fuel. Very, very nasty stuff. Toxic like you wouldn't believe. A lot of it gets dumped in places that "don't matter" (sarcasm), like off the coast of Somalia.

Of course, it's all in sealed cans.

But these rust through - eventually.

"Teach your children what we have taught ours, that the Earth is our mother.

Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth.

The Earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the Earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. 

We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children."

(Chief Seattle)

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electric2004

thank you for the references

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“Fukushima was a dramatic experience, seeing there that a high-technology nation can’t cope with such a catastrophe,” Matthias Kleiner, the commission’s co-chairman, said Monday.

I wonder whether the problem is not that technology safety is left to politicians.

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lostrune2: Also, Merkel's party are currently unpopular and looking for votes, and anti-nuclear is currently popular with the German public.

If only Germany was a proper dictatorship...

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Also, Merkel's party are currently unpopular and looking for votes, and anti-nuclear is currently popular with the German public.

This is exactly what it boils down to. There is a big difference between taking the initiative and making a knee-jerk reaction to a disaster that has relatively little chance of happening in Germany.

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This is just reviving a plan which was started 10 years ago already. Nothing new here, so these people know what they're doing. Wait some years and you will see that this becomes a competitive advantage for Germany. Ignore the whining of the die-hard proponents of nuclear power and go ahead!

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This is a very brave,wise decision by government of Germany, I sincerely hope they will succeed . But realistically even if they can achieve 70% , 80 % of their target , it will be still very good. The fact that Insurance companies do not cover public liability for nuclear power plants mean that risk is far outweigh benefit.

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You can't really say a grenade sitting in your living room is safe simply because it hasn't gone off yet.

Well if the grenade has a pin in it, and it's stored properly, and it produces all my energy needs for the foreseeable future then I'd be glad to have it. Same goes for nuclear plants. As with anything they depreciate, and become outdated and require replacement but nobody wants a new one built in their area.

Now why were those new plants not built. I didn't know that nuclear reactors came financially free. Seems to me there is a contradiction here.

Start up costs for nuclear facilities are higher, cost recoverability is better though. Nuclear plants have estimated lifespans measured in decades and require comparably little in terms of upkeep other than periodic upgrades to energy management systems. Renewables require constant replacement and to produce energy comparable to a nuclear plant you would need miles and miles and miles of area devoted to them.

New nuclear plants are rarely built largely due to efforts by well meaning organizations like Greenpeace and the like that overstate the dangers of nuclear energy. They do carry an element of risk but these organization never offer a balance argument. The weak are always more likely to be swayed by fear than reason. I'm not a scientist so I read their journals and studies meant to inform. My opinion on nuclear energy is based off of my own readings and I find that the costs and risks are justified by the benefits.

However, there is a lot of room for improvement in nuclear power and that can only be done through testing and real life operation. Generation IV reactors are a step in the right direction and with more research and interest in the subject we might be able to crack fusion by the middle of this century, from there the sky’s the limit. Renewables are limited by area and with a growing global population and the eventual recovery of property values even with increasing technology their ability to be implemented will continue to shrink.

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So the new power plants will operate on natural gas, gas provided by the Russians. This blather about conservation is nonsense. It will not happen, they are fooling themselves. This plays into the hands of the Russians.

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The bottom line is whether or not they fail, they are trying, and that takes guts in an era when all the other nations just raise their hands and say they have no choice. Take Japan as a prime example of what's wrong with the world -- a nuclear disaster the likes of which the world has not seen, and yet companies want TEPCO to build MORE power plants! The former is a nation of people trying to move forward, while the latter is a nation of children who all fob off responsibility on others while they collect their pay and demand bonuses.

Good on Germany. Before long, they might actually be able to put 'Deutschland uber alles' back into the anthem (if I've got that right) and be truly correct (while Japan simply forces people to sing and 'respect' the anthem).

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Brilliant. Sense prevails. Bye bye to all that Boomer thinking. Roll on the future.

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I still believe that thre is nothing wrong with nuclear power. It is clean and offers alot of power for the surronding community and country. When ever there is a disater that happens with it people start saying that all nuclear power is a bad thing even though the events that caused the Fukushima reactors to have the meltdowns could never be predicted and that that a very rare case. There have been far less accidents with nuclear power than with any other type of renewable resource. But I do believe that we should get off of coal and oil as a power source since those will run out in a very short amount of time and when it does, if we have better alternitive power sources it will be a major benefit than if that is all that we reley on for power and transportation.

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smithinjapan, what are we going to use for electrical power, wishful thinking? We have no coal, no oil and no gas and the hydro electric is at its potential. How many windmills would it take just to replace the nukes? Conservation do not make me laugh. It is build new safer plants or become a 3rd word nation. There is no other plans that will work.

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Good on Germany. Before long, they might actually be able to put 'Deutschland uber alles' back into the anthem (if I've got that right) and be truly correct (while Japan simply forces people to sing and 'respect' the anthem).

Seriously? You think that groveling to the Russians, and throwing away energy independence is moving forward? That its going to put Germany first? I don't know what you're smokin smith, but I'd really like to try some of that fantasy drug. What YuriOtani and thequestion said was correct. This kneejerk reaction to nuclear power is idiotic.

Everything should move towards nuclear. Develop solar and wind sure, maybe throwing money at them will eventually make it cost effective. But coal, gas, and oil are not renewable, to say nothing of the pollution involved.

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How is Japan going to come up with the electricity it needs if not with nuclear plants? That IS the question. Personally, I'm with Germany.

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Anytime solar is not available is a premium, so then you sleep at night and then wake up during the day. Only industrial and commercial operations are in need of CHP and geothermal more so than people. I bet they overshoot 25% and hit 35%

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Japan in the wake of its nuclear disaster needs partners like Germany who are focused on change to spur them along and encourage economic development, competition and partnerships. Ironically Japan is ignoring the renaissance it itself help create.

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It's going to take a lot of oil and natural gas to make up for the nuclear energy that Germany is doing away with. Good thing that global warming was found to be an elaborate hoax - otherwise I would question this move on the part of Merkel's government.

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For all you uninformed posters, why are you trying to make this so controversial? Germany will produce 15% of it's energy from Windpower by the year 2020.

If you've been to Germany recently as I have, you would know that every spare parcel of land in a wind zone has a power windmill. Why aren't more people supporting this? What's so bad? The fact that Germany is striving to produce clean, renewable energy while providing much needed jobs in their rural areas? I'm very happy at least one country gets it. Certainly the idiot savants in the U.S. Congress have not gotten it so far. Pickens Plan is the future!

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Smith: Thanks for your comment.

Actually the situation in Germany related to harvest power from wind was not always successful in the past. There had been initial developments and research projects (Growian = Gross-wind-anlage) in the MW-class, which had failed. However, companies have learned from it, and now the most balanced choice are wind-generators in the 2-3 MW class. The open, and so far not yet solved question is how to bridge times, when there is not enough wind. So this is the question of energy storage. Hydroelectric storage works, but it is already used, where possible. Other storage technologies like fuel cells, flywheel-generators, or batteries need technology advances to complete the picture.

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