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Japan Power Technology Politics

Germany To End Nuclear Power By 2022 822

Posted by samzenpus
from the nicht-mehr-kernkraft dept.
dcollins writes "Germany on Monday announced plans to become the first major industrialized power to shut down all its nuclear plants in the wake of the disaster in Japan, with a phase-out due to be wrapped up by 2022... Germany has 17 nuclear reactors on its territory, eight of which are currently off the electricity grid... Already Friday, the environment ministers from all 16 German regional states had called for the temporary order on the seven plants to be made permanent... Monday's decision is effectively a return to the timetable set by the previous Social Democrat-Green coalition government a decade ago. And it is a humbling U-turn for Merkel, who at the end of 2010 decided to extend the lifetime of Germany's 17 reactors by an average of 12 years, which would have kept them open until the mid-2030s."
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Germany To End Nuclear Power By 2022

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  • Re:By coincidence... (Score:5, Informative)

    by angel'o'sphere (80593) on Monday May 30, 2011 @10:04AM (#36286194) Homepage Journal

    Currently france is not exporting relevant amounts of power to germany. In fact before the 7 reactors got shut down a few weeks ago, germany had an overcapacity of 40% and exported power to european countries.
    Ofc due to grid load, maintanance of power plants or economic considerations there is also power imported all the time from everywhere in europe.
    That is just how the grid works.

    You know, a steel plant is unexpectingly shutting down. The power plant which is planned in to feed it has now a large surplus. Running it on 50% of its capacity is not economical. So you shut it down to standby and buy the power from France or Slovakia.

    Also power export and import is in a large scale directly to end customers. It is not that "germany" is buying power in France. It is that the Steel Company XYZ in Duisburg is doing so. Or that the cooling houses of Food Company ABC in Munich is buying power from Norway.

    angel'o'sphere

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 30, 2011 @10:08AM (#36286230)

    Don't know about the last 1000 years, but the german Wikipedia lists 8 with a magnitude >= 4,5 since 2002.

  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Monday May 30, 2011 @10:10AM (#36286252) Homepage Journal

    Germany also has an issue with their nuclear waste. They've discovered that their clever "metal barrels in a salt mine" scheme wasn't as water-tight as they thought.

    It's not just the reactor that's a threat, there's also the toxic garbage.

  • Re:Serious question; (Score:4, Informative)

    by Nimey (114278) on Monday May 30, 2011 @10:53AM (#36286640) Homepage Journal

    Germany's coal is mostly brown coal, so it'll pollute a whole lot more than the bituminous or anthracite coal other parts of the world use.

  • by Maury Markowitz (452832) on Monday May 30, 2011 @10:55AM (#36286660) Homepage

    > Because nuclear power is the cleanest, most dependable, most regulated,
    > and lowest impacting power source on the planet right now

    That would be hydro, not nuclear. Much cheaper too. People who believe nuclear is the way to go generally live in areas that are tapped out on the hydro side and the local power companies stop talking about it.

    A good example is right here in Toronto. They're still trying to build another set of four reactors east of the city, but there's 9 reactors worth in norther Quebec already installed and underused, another 11 unbuilt, another 10 in Newfoundland and Manitoba, and at least 25 in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan. There's more untapped hydro in Canada than tapped, and more hydro in total than all the other forms of power put together. If we did a full build-out, we would supply all of our electricity, power all our cars, and still export more power to the US than we do now.

    So no, I don't support building new reactors.

  • by camperslo (704715) on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:07AM (#36286766)

    I guess the accident that killed people at the fuel processing facility and exposed residents nearby to radiation in 1999 doesn't count.

    And although no one died, the accident, and the cover-up of the severity of it, at the Japanese sodium breeder reactor apparently isn't worth mentioning.
    That was no Mark I design.

    The fuel pond issues certainly aren't unique to Mark I designs. Unit 4 in Japan, which had fuel only in the fuel pond, exploded, apparently from hydrogen that came from unit 3. Neither unit 3 nor unit 4 were Mark I designs. There aren't supposed to be any common-cause failures, yet clearly that explosion pathway and the backup power had causes in common.

    One of the reactors shut down in central Japan over earthquake fears was found to have salt water in the closed-loop part of the cooling system. That wasn't even known before the plant was shut down for another reason. Coupling between the ocean water and internal cooling water loops was supposed to be impossible.

    In one sense the older systems may have an advantage. They didn't originally use frail and vulnerable computer systems. What modern computer systems can be trusted to work for 40 years plus?

  • Re:Serious question; (Score:5, Informative)

    by PhreakOfTime (588141) on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:09AM (#36286778) Homepage

    Nobody needs to repeat that study, because like you said, it's not relevant.

    But you know what is relevant? Instead of all that stuff going up in smoke, it now gets stored in giant piles of waste. Usually on site, but sometimes at an offsite disposal facility. Such fun things as; arsenic, beryllium, boron, cadmium, chromium, chromium VI, cobalt, lead, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, selenium, strontium, thallium, and vanadium, along with dioxins and PAH compounds.

    Perfectly safe, until this [nytimes.com] happens that is.

  • by nojayuk (567177) on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:21AM (#36286836)

    Hydro-electric dam failures have killed hundreds of thousands of people over the years. Indeed, a small (non-power-generating) dam in Fukushima prefecture broke during the recent big earthquake in Japan, killing at least four people at the dam itself and washing away a couple of villages downstream with some inhabitants reported as missing presumed drowned. That's a lot more people than were killed by the tsunami and earthquake at the two Fukushima plants and (obviously) a lot more than have died from radioactivity releases caused by the reactor failures.

    Hydro power is a proven killer with a long history of mass deaths due to structural failures and operating problems. It's not in the same class as coal and oil due to the amount of pollution and CO2 it produces for the amount of energy it outputs but in terms of ill-effects it's way ahead of nuclear in any scale you care to compare it with.

  • by khallow (566160) on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:28AM (#36286902)

    Did you know to this day 20% of Belarus's farmland is unusable?

    No, and you didn't know either because it isn't true. The original BBC story [bbc.co.uk] states that 20% of Belarus was contaminated by Chernobyl fallout. Much of that land (probably everything aside from a bit that lies within the Chernobyl exclusion zone [wikimedia.org]) is being used.

    So tell me how do you plan on making all of the land usable again?

    You can always reuse such land for industrial purposes. Or plant a crop that aggressively absorbs cesium or other problem isotopes.

  • Re:By coincidence... (Score:4, Informative)

    by V for Vendetta (1204898) on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:42AM (#36287060)

    Relying on another country for your electricity needs..

    Nope. Germany is a net-exporter of electric power in Europe. Shuting down those nuclear plants still doesn't make us a net-importer. It's just that we don't export as much as before.

  • Re:Let me see... (Score:2, Informative)

    by c6gunner (950153) on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:00PM (#36287302)

    As a German I think it's the perfect time to ditch the nuclear power and finally invest some of the billions of moneys that the electric cooperations taking and come up with a sustainable and green energy source.

    See, this, right here, is why anyone with a halfway-useful education immediately laughs at the green movement. You honestly seem to think that tossing a few billion dollars at a bunch of scientists will result in some magical doohickey which produces limitless energy with no environmental impact or risk to the public. Technology doesn't work that way. Improvements don't scale that way. You may as well suggest prayer; it's just as likely to produce the desired result.

    Everyone has known that the nuclear power plants have a limited lifetime. But what was the solution: just extend the lifetime.

    No, the solution is to build new, safer, more efficient, more powerful nuclear plants. Relying on 50 year old designs is almost as retarded as deciding to ditch nuclear entirely.

  • Re:By coincidence... (Score:5, Informative)

    by he-sk (103163) on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:14PM (#36287464)

    I just want to add that even with 13 of its nuclear 17 reactors shut down last week-end because of repairs and other reasons, the agency responsible for the electricity network announced that Germany was not importing electricity from abroad. So the GP is full of shit.

    Oh, and here's a source for your overcapacity claim, in case somebody asks: http://rwecom.online-report.eu/factbook/en/marketdata/electricity/grid/germanyimportandexportofelectricity.html [online-report.eu]

  • Re:By coincidence... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:16PM (#36287502)
    Not remotely accurate. The greens have been on a constant upward trend before Fukushima even came up. The moderate left has been betrayed and fucked over by the social democrats, which is paying dearly for it now. The disappointed wander off to the Greens for years now. Well, given your general opinions, I can only encourage you to seek for that exit strategy. It might make both sides happier.

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