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German Parliament Backs Nuclear Exit By 2022 364

Posted by Soulskill
from the figurative-meltdowns-do-more-damage dept.
fysdt sends this quote from an AFP report: "The German parliament sealed plans Friday to phase out nuclear energy by 2022, making the country the first major industrial power to take the step in the wake of the disaster at Japan's Fukushima plant. The nuclear exit scheme cleared its final hurdle in the Bundesrat upper house, which represents the 16 regional states, after the legislation passed the Bundestag lower house with an overwhelming majority last week. Germany's seven oldest reactors were already switched off after Japan's massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, causing reactors to overheat and radiation to leak. A further reactor has been shut for years because of technical problems."
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German Parliament Backs Nuclear Exit By 2022

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  • So when are... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darkon (206829) on Friday July 08, 2011 @12:12PM (#36695936)

    ...we going to see an earthquate and tsunami in Germany to justify this fearmongering?

  • by alanshot (541117) <rurick&techondemand,net> on Friday July 08, 2011 @12:13PM (#36695968)

    Prior to the disaster I had heard of improved reactor designs that supposedly could not melt down.
    Anyone know if these designs are limited to the small scale versions (the size of a semi trailer) Toshiba has designed, or can they be scaled up?

    • There are CANDU reactors, which are resilient to meltdown conditions (the fuel is positioned for optimal reactivity, and changes in that positioning e.g. the beginning of a meltdown reduce the reaction rate) and which can also accept Thorium as fuel (which is more abundant than Uranium and which is less useful for nuclear weapons). Newer designs, however, are even better; for example, pebble beds (which are not yet deployed afaik) do not require an active cooling system to prevent a meltdown, and so even a
      • by Annirak (181684) on Friday July 08, 2011 @12:32PM (#36696264)

        The fundamental principle of the CANDU reactor design is the use of heavy water as a neutron moderator. Because water vaporizes at low temperatures, the reactor has a negative void coefficient, which means that overheating the reactor causes it to be inefficient at slowing neutrons, which reduces the reaction rate. This means that the CANDU reactor has an inherent negative feedback system and will effectively shut itself down if it overheats. This is not a control system, which can fail, this is a, quite literally, fail-safe design. If you crack the containment vessel and leak all the heavy water out, the reactor will shut down.

        • The CANDU has a positive void coefficient, though not as large as the pre-Chernobyl RBMKs. This is largely a consequence of being overmoderated to allow it to run on natural uranium, so loss of coolant doesn't lead to significant loss of moderation.

        • by Amouth (879122)

          i must be confused - but i thought you needed to slow/absorb the neutrons to reduce the reaction rate - wouldn't removing the moderator/inhibitor increase reaction?

          • by bdcrazy (817679)

            Fast neutrons don't initiate fission as well as slowed neutrons. Removing the slow ones limit the reaction rates.

            • by Amouth (879122)

              thanks.. that's counter intuitive to me but then again i never studied it :)

              you think of it as splitting an atom - you would think hitting it with more energy is better but i see now how it is the after affect of being heaver (after absorbing the slower) that causes the split.. oddly to me it seems an organic style process

              thanks

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Nuclear Operator at a CANDU station here...
            The increase in reactivity due to voiding in the CANDU is due to many factors but one of the causes is due to the interactions of faster than thermal neutrons at the resonance absorption frequency of U238.

            The positive void is dealt with by having a safety shutdown system that can respond in less than 2 seconds.

            Also, voiding tends to add about 4-6mk.
            Source:

            http://www.unene.ca/un802-2005/ben/candu_void_reactivity.pdf

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Also I forgot to mention that slow neutrons cause fission (a few exceptions exist). Thus the point of having a moderator.

              Even if the reactivity drops to near 0, we still need to deal with decay heat. I heard something like one reactor at full power is as powerful as fifty 747's with their engines at full throttle. The same reactor when shutdown produces enough decay heat equivalent to one engine from a 747.

        • by multi io (640409)

          The fundamental principle of the CANDU reactor design is the use of heavy water as a neutron moderator. Because water vaporizes at low temperatures, the reactor has a negative void coefficient, which means that overheating the reactor causes it to be inefficient at slowing neutrons, which reduces the reaction rate. This means that the CANDU reactor has an inherent negative feedback system and will effectively shut itself down if it overheats.

          Well, didn't Fukushima reactor shut itself down too immediately after the tsunami hit it? You don't need a running reactor with a self-sustaining chain reaction to have a nuclear accident and a large release of radioactive material into the environment.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      It makes no difference when you live in a land ruled by greens.

      You really have to visit Germany to see the scale to which they apply the "green" mentality. I'm not saying it's all bad (in fact some of it is very good) but some things need a bit of effort to fully understand the pros and cons. Nuclear energy is one of those things - very easy to dismiss out of hand but the only sane choice if done right, ie. a difficult thing to sell to the common man.

      Ironically enough, Germany is one of the few countries I'

      • by AGMW (594303) on Friday July 08, 2011 @12:42PM (#36696426) Homepage

        It makes no difference when you live in a land ruled by greens.

        Well, if Germany wants to go down that route to be Green then so be it, but they should also enshrine in law some massive (punitive) tax on any energy they import from technologies they abandoned, otherwise surely they're just encouraging other countries to be un-green to meet Germany's energy shortfall!

      • by dgatwood (11270)

        There's something ironic about calling any country "green" when such a high percentage of people burn sticks of paper and tobacco for their own entertainment. And that definitely isn't done with one eye on longevity. Just saying.

    • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@@@cornell...edu> on Friday July 08, 2011 @01:13PM (#36696908) Homepage

      I'm not sure if any power generation reactor can be 100% resistant to meltdown.

      However, modern reactor designs ARE much more resilient and in fact nearly every failure mode encountered at Fukushima has already been addressed in them.

      For example, the latest generation BWR (ESBWR) uses heatpipes to pools on the reactor building roof to provide passive core cooling. No intervention is needed for 72 hours, after that all you need is a fire truck to refill the pools. (no special generators, etc.) The next refill will likely be significantly later since decay heat is significantly less after 72 hours. Since these pools are fully isolated from radioactive materials, they're a lot easier to top off than the SFPs at Fukushima.

      Modern reactor buildings have catalytic hydrogen recombiners that prevent hydrogen buildup, eliminating the explosions that have made management and cleanup MUCH more difficult.

      Obviously SFP management needs to be revisited - I think it simply didn't get the attention it needed, but none of the SFP thermal management issues are insurmountable or even difficult to solve. Most of the SFPs are only dissipating about as much power as a tractor-trailer engine, with Unit 4 being the exception. (That pool is rather overloaded with a full reactor load of freshly spent fuel. Lesson learned - don't pack pools so densely with fuel.)

    • by cbarcus (600114) on Friday July 08, 2011 @01:17PM (#36696960)
      Yeah, there's a couple, but I think the best design is the Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactor (Molten Salt Reactor)- it's super efficient, inherently safe, affordable, scalable, and very flexible. It's potentially so cost-efficient that we could synthesize carbon-neutral fuels for all of our transportation needs, and definitely for less than $2/gal (and longer term, significantly less than that). The high operating temperatures mean that water cooling would not be required, so it safeguards our shorelines, rivers, and aquifers. This isn't a theoretical design, as it has already been shown to be feasible by a prototype built in the 60s (the program was shut down in the 70s because it competed with the uranium/plutonium fuel cycle, and it didn't easily produce plutonium for weapons). Really, this is amazing technology for which I believe the "Green Nuclear" label is very appropriate, and the anti-nuclear movement ought to take a very close look at this.

      In fact, "farming" energy through renewables is a terrible choice by comparison, and will not be able to generate the cheap energy we need in order to sequester the CO2 that threatens Civilization and end the water shortage (via desalination). China already announced this year that they are pursuing this technology (something the US pioneered the development of), so nearly everyone else in the developed world is lagging in the Thorium Race. I guess after another decade or so of suffering, we'll just go further in debt as we try to buy Chinese-made LFTRs.

      This could be our greatest moment, commercializing perhaps the greatest machine ever conceived, ending our economic problems, revitalizing our manufacturing base, ending poverty- so much is possible with cheap energy. Are we instead going to go the way of the Amish, shunning such potential out of fear and ignorance?
    • by KreAture (105311)
      Yes there appears to be safer designs. The problem is, they haven't been used as much as so are considered less safe. Basically unknown = unsafe in nuclear industry. They want stats and numbers so they can take a "calculated risk" rather than trust in something all scientists that study it sais will be safer.
      A few things they wanted to address:
      - Pressure, the new reactor principles work on low pressure to avoid blowouts
      - Heat, the new reactors have a higher tolerance for heat, and are self-regulating in
    • by zAPPzAPP (1207370)

      The problem is not with the design.
      I am pretty sure that it would be possible to get the nuclear technology running in a safe way, if costs would not be considered.

      But german nuclear plants are run by energy megacons. As any business they invest only as much, as is required to abide the law and keep the plant running. If they can get away with saving money by any loophole, they do it. Those plants are degrading, we got a high number of malfunctions, that just should not happen with proper equipment. The who

    • The problems with new reactor designs are ..
      • - the coolant is toxic or otherwise dangerous.
      • - the demo plant lost some of its nuclear fuel through the fuel balls getting crushed and disintegrating
      • - Germany banned the building of new reactors even before Fukushima. This means that new reactors were not an option in Germany for a long time. It is therefore reasonable to shut down old reactors. Consider that the Fukushima Daiichi plants are among the oldest, and would have been shut down before the disaster
  • Hey Germany.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Hey Germany- you buy much of your electricity from France...they have nuclear reactors- are building more, and are right next to you. Good luck with this experiment in futility. You're probably going to kill more people in the long run with such knee jerk reactions.

    • by F-3582 (996772)
      At the moment there is a project involving an under-sea cable to Norway which produces 99% of their electricity from renewable sources. Unfortunately this project is being hindered by some stupid bureaucracy (involving some awkward definitions...never mind) and the oligopoly of four big power corporations owning the net.

      And there are lots of projects done by local authorities and smaller companies, for example using CHP in district heating plants or in your own basement, just to name a few examples.

      So
    • Re:Hey Germany.... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by prefec2 (875483) on Friday July 08, 2011 @01:15PM (#36696934)

      Hey France we where exporting more energy to other countries including your country. Now we will sell you less energy. Especially in summer that is a problem for you when the nuclear plants cannot produce peak output because of the water shortage.

      But I bet that this comment of yours is not from France at all. I know French people they are neither jerks nor stupid. And yes it is stupid to claim that Germany was importing more energy than it is exporting. And we will see next year if Germany has a positive or negative balance.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday July 08, 2011 @12:20PM (#36696078)
    ...because coal is so much better? From TFA:

    building new coal and gas power plants

    So, instead of nuclear energy -- which has killed only a handful of people over the past few decades -- they would rather have coal, which has killed at least hundreds of thousands of people in that same period of time. Never mind the long lasting environmental hazards created by coal mining and the toxins that coal fired power plants spew as part of their normal operation -- nuclear is obviously a much greater concern.

    • by s122604 (1018036)
      My guess is that most of the plants end up being fired by natural gas..
      The Kremlin and the Executives at Gazprom must simply be ecstatic..
      Of course if the shale gas revolution pans out, maybe we in the US can get in on the extortion...
      • Natural gas is only somewhat better than coal, in that the emissions from a natural gas plant are a bit cleaner (we only have to worry about carbon dioxide). Natural gas mining is a dangerous business that damages the environment and can ruin towns. Uranium mining is not the most environmentally friendly industry around, but the amount of uranium that needs to be mined is much smaller than the amount of natural gas, per joule.
        • by MikeURL (890801)

          We are having an epic battle in NYC just to simply get the DEP to agree to bar drilling in the NYC watershed. In 2009 the DEP released a report that said drilling everywhere in NYS (even on state owned parkland) was just ducky. No problem even though they had no idea what is in the fracking fluid.

          In the recent 2011 report the DEP grudgingly backed off its earlier optimism that hydrofracking is safe everywhere and all times and under any circumstance. They made some areas off limits. They decided that ri

    • Re:Coal (Score:5, Informative)

      by The Great Pretender (975978) on Friday July 08, 2011 @12:46PM (#36696488)
      Nice use of selective editing.

      "These include building new coal and gas power plants, although Berlin is sticking to its target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels, and by 80-95 percent by 2050.

      It also signed off on expanding wind energy, in a bid to boost the share of the country's power needs generated by renewable energies to 35 percent by 2020 from 17 percent at present.

      Germany is already far ahead of most of the world in alternative energy and this SHOULD force them to accelerate progress in the area, which will benefit all of us. The question is whether they stick to the road map.

    • by prefec2 (875483)

      Which part of renewable sources do you not understand. We are not replacing nuclear plants by coal or gas plants. We replace old coal plants by new more efficient coal and gas plants. Preferably in combination with heat production for households and the industry.

      • by Trepidity (597)

        That's still privileging coal and gas over nuclear: there's a moratorium on replacing old nuclear plants with new ones, but no similar moratorium on replacing old coal/gas with new ones. If Germany wants to show a commitment to environmentalism, coal plants should have at least as strong a moratorium as nuclear, since they're much worse. If the decision is "no new nuclear", it should definitely include "no new coal", and ideally should include a coal phase-out before the nuclear phase-out, since we should s

  • *if* they were replacing their nuke plants with other sources of clean energy. If you knock down one source of clean energy and replace it with another one, this really affects nobody other than the folks paying the bill.

    But they're not -- they're replacing them in part with coal/gas plants, according to TFA. This ought to be regarded by non-paranoid people as a step backward.

    • by delinear (991444)

      But they're not -- they're replacing them in part with coal/gas plants, according to TFA. This ought to be regarded by non-paranoid people as a step backward.

      It is. All 12 non-paranoid people left in the human race consider it exactly that.

      • It is. All 12 non-paranoid people left in the human race consider it exactly that.

        I'm not paranoid, and I consider it exactly that. But I'm pretty sure that at least 3 of the remaining 11 are actually liars who are actually out to get me and the other 8.

    • by Andy Dodd (701)

      Yup. Russia and France are quite happy about this I'm sure, because it means either:
      1) Germany will be buying French nuclear power
      2) Germany will be buying Russian natural gas

      Either way, this makes Germany dependent on other countries for energy. Not a good idea.

      • by gorgonite (79857)
        3) Germany will switch to renewables. please read TFA. 4) Germany will no longer rely on Uranium import.
  • by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slashNO@SPAMomnifarious.org> on Friday July 08, 2011 @12:21PM (#36696106) Homepage Journal

    Japan's nuclear disaster has proven to me that neither the companies responsible for nuclear power plants, nor the people responsible for ostensibly regulating them can be trusted. I think Germany's decision is absolutely correct until we can come up with a better political/organizational technology for regulating nuclear power plants.

    • Nevermind that in the entire history of nuclear power, only a handful of people have been killed by nuclear incidents, compared with hundreds of thousands of people killed by coal over the same period of time. Let's also take the time to remember that the environment impact of coal is immediate and very real: toxic gases and heavy metals spewed by coal plants as part of their normal operation, slag piles, abandoned mines/acid mine drainage, etc. Yes, uranium mining has an environmental impact, but less u
      • Nevermind that in the entire history of nuclear power, only a handful of people have been killed by nuclear incidents, compared with hundreds of thousands of people killed by coal over the same period of time.

        I don't care what kind of bogus statistics you quote. How can I even trust them when the industry lies so freely and easily?

        All I care about is how the accident is minimized to the point of lying about it while it's happening and after it happened. It takes months for anything even close to resembling the truth to come out, and even then I don't trust it. How can I trust any of the statistics you quote when everybody involved in the industry lies through their teeth?

        I want honesty and real accountability. W

        • by ScentCone (795499)

          How can I trust any of the statistics you quote when everybody involved in the industry lies through their teeth?

          Because the information isn't from the industry. It's from the hospitals, families, and everyone else who actually knows the people who die in what are inevitably major, highly scrutinized events. Not to bug you with details that might upset your ludicrous rant, of course.

    • Do you think the companies responsible for coal power plants, or the people responsible for ostensibly regulating them, can be trusted? Because that seems to be what they intend to replace nuclear plants with.

      Also, Japanese culture and business, I would wager, is somewhat different from German culture and business. I have to imagine that there are different companies and different regulatory agencies/frameworks present in two completely distinct countires on opposite sides of the world.

      But go ahead an
  • by Twinbee (767046) on Friday July 08, 2011 @12:25PM (#36696150) Homepage

    Common Germany, your engineering is some of the finest. Think long term and if nothing else, put money into research of "Thorium" or "Travelling Wave" reactors, the type championed by Bill Gates. Both of these are completely safe and the waste is minimal.

    • by Andy Dodd (701)

      I don't think either have been proven to be completely safe... In fact I think one of the reasons thorium cycle hasn't been widely deployed is the difficulties of designing a completely safe thorium cycle reactor.

      However, both DO have a lot of promise and good safety potential. But I wouldn't yet call them "completely safe".

      Remember, lots of people said pebble bed reactors were completely safe. Germany has managed to disprove that...

      That said, almost any modern reactor design is significantly safer than

  • From what I can see, I hope the European Union survives till then (with Greece, Portugal and Ireland in it), but if it does, most of the new nuclear reactors in France would be powering the industrial complex of Germany.

    In some sense, that does make a lot of sense to have a single nation throw their weight behind a tech and sort of specialize in it. On the other hand, naming Fukushima as a cause is just political pandering of the lowest kind.

  • Moving on (Score:3, Informative)

    by bkmoore (1910118) on Friday July 08, 2011 @12:31PM (#36696256)

    If any country has the engineering capacity to move off of Nuclear for base-load power, it is Germany. Blast Germany all you want to, but I hope they make it work. Maybe America could use a little more vision.

    Unless you have lived in Germany, you probably aren't aware just how controversial nuclear power has been, especially since the 1970s. Germany was planning on quitting Nuclear power once the useful life span of their reactors expired, but Chancellor Merkel reversed this decision in what was derisively known as the "Ausstieg aus dem Ausstieg" or in English, the "Exit from the Exit" from atomic energy. Then Fukushima happened on the eve of provincial elections in Baden-Wuertenberg. So she reversed course just in time, but her Christian Democratic Union still lost the election to the Green Party for the first time since the end of WW 2.

    I don't agree on Merkels U-Turns every time public opinion shifts, but I am in favor of ending Nuclear energy. The contaminated (evacuated) zone around Chernobyl is the size of Switzerland. If something similar happened in Germany, they would loose a major chunk of their country. Just food for thought.

    I'll probably go down in flames from the nuclear fanboys, this being /. and all. Sometimes, I think they are more afraid of someone finding an alternative than they are of an actual mishap. Maybe Nuclear power makes sense in a larger country such as the USA, or Russia in an isolated location. But in Germany, a mishap would be catastrophic and affect the livelihood of tens of millions of people. Yes, I do live in Germany.

    • Re:Moving on (Score:5, Insightful)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday July 08, 2011 @12:46PM (#36696492)
      Your parliament is not phasing nuclear power out in favor of wind or hydroelectric energy, they are phasing out nuclear power in favor of coal. Coal is one of the deadliest energy sources around. It doesn't take a disaster to make coal power deadly -- it spews hazardous gases and heavy metals as part of its normal operation.

      I'd take nuclear power over coal any day of the week.
      • by Skapare (16644)
        The greens are backing coal, now?
        • What they're backing is irrelevant, as what actually occurs is ultimately limited by physics, engineering and economic practicalities, not the whims of politicians. If Germany have phased out coal by 2022 I'll eat my hat.

          • by LWATCDR (28044)

            It is a good plan. Put the fantasy far enough out that it will fail after you are out of power.

        • by Yakasha (42321)

          The greens are backing coal, now?

          Yes. They're just too short-sighted to realize it.
          The core of any country's power needs has to come from 1 of 4 options:

          • coal
          • natural gas
          • diesel
          • nuclear

          Solar is not cost effective, wind, water, geo-thermal, tidal are limited by geography.

          So if you outlaw/restrict nuclear, you're left with burning coal, gas, or petroleum.

      • by gorgonite (79857)
        How would you know that Germany is going back to coal? Do you read german publications? Do you know what AFP means? Agence France Presse. Please consider that.
      • Great! I will sell you my house within 100 miles of Fukushima with a nice discount! (you know, I have offered this many times to nuke fanboys, and they never seem to take up the offer . . . Could BS travel more easily from the mouth than the wallet?)

        Nuclear power is cleaner than coal power in a perfectly predictable world. It only takes one significant nuclear mishap to completely change the situation. At least with coal, the level of pollution is predictable, and you never have a large density of contam
        • by Rakarra (112805)

          Great! I will sell you my house within 100 miles of Fukushima with a nice discount! (you know, I have offered this many times to nuke fanboys, and they never seem to take up the offer . . . Could BS travel more easily from the mouth than the wallet?)

          I imagine the number of nuke fanboys who want to buy your house is about the same now as it was before the earthquake/tsunami. That is, about 0^H, ok, apparently just dknight. Good luck with that!

          I don't want to buy it and the reasons don't have anything to do with the nuclear situation:
          1) I don't want to live in Japan. As a gaijin, I have a pretty good idea of the limitations that would be placed on me.
          2) I especially don't want to live in semi-remote northern Japan.
          3) I don't want to leave my current hous

        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          100 miles? Yeah sure I'll take you up on that offer. I'll even grow a vegetable patch and eat them too. Chances are I'd still outlive you.

          The thing about BS is that many people have this thing called sense or have the ability to decide things logically that you appear to lack. If I were in Japan, and you were seriously selling cheap land near (very relatively speaking for 100miles) Fukushima I'd gladly take it off your hands.

          It only takes one significant mishap? WE'VE HAD TENS OF MISHAPS, and Coal is still

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lars -1 (308687)

        Where did you get this information from?

        In any case, it's not true. The goal in germany is to go for sustainable energy sources, especially wind and solar.

        Coal (at least having lots of emissions here) would not be an option for germany, since they're taking part in the Kyoto protocol [wikipedia.org]. The United States are unfortunately not ratifying it, and remain one of the biggest pollutors in the world.

    • by Andy Dodd (701)

      Please stop using Chernobyl as an example, it's an extremely poor one. It was a known dangerous, fundamentally unstable reactor design that has always been illegal to build in the United States, and I believe Germany also never built reactors with positive void coefficients that completely lacked any form of containment.

      • by fadir (522518)

        There is not much of a difference here. None of the still running German nuclear power plants passes todays safety requirements. None of those plants is protected against aircraft impact from larger planes even though plenty of them are pretty close to airports or even directly within flight routes.

        The German reactors are outdated and unsafe and it's about time that they go offline.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Your living in a fantasy. Germany is a net importer of power and that will come from France which is 80% nuclear and building more all the time. Your just using Nuclear power from France and now depending on French engineering and French safety regulations to keep your lights on and keep you safe.
      Add in more imports of Natural Gas from Russia that they can turn off at a whim... Well hope that clears it up for you. Germany has very little in the way of solar potental. Last time I looked nice empty desserts w

      • by fadir (522518)

        Germany is a net exporter of electricity and will (net) not change that, even after shutting down the last nuclear power plant. I don't know where you got your information from but it's clearly wrong.

        Citing France as a source for power is pretty absurd because France is regularly buying electricity from Germany when they have to shut down their nuclear power plants when it's getting too hot or too warm.

    • by Urza9814 (883915)

      The contaminated (evacuated) zone around Chernobyl is the size of Switzerland. If something similar happened in Germany, they would loose a major chunk of their country. Just food for thought.

      That's great and all, but a disaster on the scale of Chernobyl would not be possible. It was a fundamentally unsafe reactor design from the start (positive void coefficient, no containment dome, etc)...but even then, they would have been fine, but people who didn't know what they were doing were ordering them to run an experiment in ways that ignored nearly all existing safety protocols.

      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reaction/readings/chernobyl.html [pbs.org]

      Without question, the accident at Chernobyl was the result of a fatal combination of ignorance and complacency. "As members of a select scientific panel convened immediately after the...accident," writes Bethe, "my colleagues and I established that the Chernobyl disaster tells us about the deficiencies of the Soviet political and administrative system rather than about problems with nuclear power."

  • "France's Nuclear Energy Sector predicts strong growth in French Electricity Exports"

  • by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Friday July 08, 2011 @12:53PM (#36696614)

    Since the first halt, Germany became a net power importer [bloomberg.com] from France -- whereas it used to be the other way around. And of course France generates 80% of its power from nuclear [wikipedia.org]. So yeah, they aren't really doing anything except shuffling the plants around.

    France is going to make out pretty well from all this, probably going to end up as the major electricity producer on the continent. They are already reaping major economies of scale, having the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_pricing [wikipedia.org] electricity prices in Europe.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The fact that you're citing "Wikipedia" speaks for itself, but here's some actual German energy facts:

      http://www.nationmaster.com/country/gm-germany/ene-energy [nationmaster.com]

      As you can see, they use fossil fuels for most electrical generation and 30% for nuclear (slighly old numbers, as they've increased renewable generation since then to 17% of their total power generation). Now to put their solar growth alone into perspective, "Germany set a new world record installing 7,400 MW of solar PV in one year. The country

    • by Idou (572394)
      They are also outsourcing the risk of nuclear disasters (which are never fully covered, even with government backing) and the cost of containing spent fuel for thousands of years.

      It is like rare earths and China. It is not like China is the only one with rare earths or that rare earth extraction has to be so polluting. However, to make enough profit for it to be worth doing, you have to cut some corners. The more corners that are cut, the more profitable it becomes. If you can afford to have a choice, th
    • by fadir (522518)

      This report is highly misleading. To judge a countries electricities balance by 1 month is absurd. There were always months when Germany was importing more electricity then exporting. That still doesn't make it a net importer.

  • what are we going to say cohorts of nuclear energy geeks who were ...... doh nevermind.
  • by prefec2 (875483) on Friday July 08, 2011 @01:18PM (#36696972)

    Nuclear power became very unpopular after the Chernobyl accident. This lead to a nuclear power plant exit strategy in 2001 implemented by the red-green coalition (liberal and progressive) government. The exit date was around 2020/2022. Just recently the autumn 2010 the black-yellow coalition (conservatives) changed that plan to something in the 2030ies. then the Japanese had that bid disaster and the black-yellow coalition became very, very unpopular, because of their recent gift for the energy oligopoly. So in panic they changed it back to 2022. The only difference is, that seven old plants and one new one (which was broken for years now) are offline. The old one are so secure that you can built you own Fukushima-accident in Germany with a sport plane.

    However, it is very interesting to hear that there are so many people telling Germany: You don't make it. It is not possible to switch. Lets say your're right. We never know until we've tried. But, when you are wrong then what will you do?

  • There is still a long way to go until 2022, and such "decisions" are likely to change - more than once. This looks more like a "decision" that is designed to make politicians look better rather than an actual exit strategy.

"Right now I feel that I've got my feet on the ground as far as my head is concerned." -- Baseball pitcher Bo Belinsky

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