Response to Germany’s Misguided Decision to Shutdown Nuclear Power Plants

Could the German decision be helpful to promoting nuclear energy?
I’m beginning to see criticism mount. Wall Street Journal question of the day
Comments: Germany-shutting-down-its-nuclear has a critics responding in numbers and Sweden criticized Germany’s decision.

WSJ: Germany is shutting down its nuclear program. Do you agree with the decision?

Germany said it would close all of its 17 nuclear reactors by 2022, a sharp policy reversal that will make it the first major economy to quit atomic power in the wake of the nuclear crisis in Japan. What do you think? Is the plan an over-reaction to recent events in Japan? Can nuclear energy be safe
The Federal Association for German Industry (Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie) (B.D.I.), sent a letter on Monday morning to the chancellery, warning her about the consequences for German business.
“How will the international competitiveness of German industry be guaranteed?” Hans-Peter Keitel, B.D.I.’s president, wrote. “Industry last year accounted for two-thirds of Germany’s economic upswing.”

Iran was not pleased with the decision either but why that is true is not clear.

==> I, too, am loving the discussion thread on the WSJ, but have to agree with William Icquatu — there are some really fervent (rabid?) anti-nuclear participants. This thread contains some of the finest, most persuaisve, pro-thorium comments I’ve seen anywhere.

However, I think it would be good to remember that DISCUSSIONS and DEBATES are FACT-based. Fling enough UNCERTAINTY and DOUBT into a debate and FACTS become OPINIONS. DEBATES become ARGUMENTS which are won by the loudest, most emotional, and most frequently shouted OPINIONS. Watch for the FACT=>FUD=>OPINION transitions in news coverage of controversial issues such as evolution, global warming and nuclear power. Seems like everything devolves into ARGUMENTS where no one wants to be confused with facts while they make up their minds.

There seems to be a strong lemming mind set in Germany. Hitler led millions over the cliff into WW II, now the “greens” are leading millions over the cliff into energy poverty. The Russian nickname for Germans, “Duybs”, translates into “oaken-headed”. Russian gas producers are about to become incredibly wealthy from the decisions of the “oaken-headed”.

 

4 Comments

  • June 5, 2011 - 9:18 pm | Permalink

    It is easy to dismiss this as typical of the German psyche, that they throw themselves into what ever ideology happens to capture their collective imaginations, and perhaps there is some truth in this. However, unlike some other cultures, they also have the capacity to stand back after failure and turn quickly in another direction.

    One way or the other wind and solar are going to prove their worth, or fail so spectacularly, that they will never be taken seriously again.

    Key to this is that you can be sure that the rest of the EU is not going to cut them any slack on carbon, and when that starts to bite into industry there, it will hit the fan.

  • Joe Heffernan
    June 7, 2011 - 1:33 am | Permalink

    When I first heard of Germany’s decision to shut down their reactors in response to Fukushima I thought it was stupid and I still do. However, I will no doubt be meeting plenty of German’s during the summer when I teach at a European Summer School. I will share my opinion with them but I won’t tell them that the decision is stupid.

    I will tell them it is a great decision for the French because they get to sell more nuclear power at probably higher prices.

    I will tell them it is a great decision for British and other manufacturers because the great German economy has started on the road to increase their base costs and diminish their competitiveness because of high priced renewables.

    I will tell them it is a great decision for people like me who see a great future for Small Modular Reactors. I now see a great set of Engineers in Germany taking themselves out of the game and leaving the field a bit more open for the likes of me.

    Joe Heffernan

  • June 7, 2011 - 9:23 pm | Permalink

    Czech President Vaclav Klaus fired a broadside at Germany’s energy policy on Tuesday, calling its withdrawal from nuclear power “absurd” and saying his country was heading in the opposite direction.

    The comments, unusually candid for the leader of a government diplomatically close to its bigger EU neighbour, came in a speech about Europe given to a business and trade group in the northern German city of Hamburg.

    “There are surely many other themes which could be discussed here tonight, for example the current, entirely absurd proposals for an exit from nuclear power in your country,” he told members of the Uebersee Club, for whom he later signed copies of his book “Europa?”

    “Here I would like to mention the following. The Czech Republic will not give up nuclear energy. To the contrary, in southern Bohemia we plan to build further blocks at the Temelin nuclear power station,” he said, referring to a region near the German border

    Source: Czech president calls German nuclear exit “absurd”

  • June 26, 2011 - 8:04 am | Permalink

    This decision by Germany to phase out nuclear power generation is on the surface stupid.What the government fail to consider is how is this source of generation to be replaced.They may say more wind farms and solar systems but even by 2022 this will provide only a small proportion of the energy requirements.Demand for power in the longer terms is likely to increase as for example the introduction of electric powered cars which will need to be charged from the mains.The result of this could be phased power cuts as the demand for energy exceeds supply.When this happens the politicians who took the decision to phase out these power stations will surely reap the wrath of the people they are supposed to represent.

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