Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Power

Siemens To Exit Nuclear Power Business 400

Posted by samzenpus
from the picking-up-my-cooling-rods-and-going-home dept.
jones_supa wrote in with a link about the future of nuclear power in Germany. The story reads: "German industrial giant Siemens is turning the page on nuclear energy, the group's CEO Peter Löscher told the weekly Der Spiegel in an interview published on Sunday. The group's decision to withdraw from the nuclear industry reflects 'the very clear stance taken by Germany's society and political leadership.' Along with abandoning nuclear power, Germany wants to boost the share of the country's power needs generated by renewable energies to 35% by 2020 from 17% at present."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Siemens To Exit Nuclear Power Business

Comments Filter:
  • This kind of thought is too bad for the Earth, because baring fossil fuels, there is really no other source that can provide the need of our modern society. The actual unblemished truth is that the popular âoerenewableâ sources can not supply but a minority proportion of the worldâ(TM)s needs for energy. The truth is: Itâ(TM)s either coal / oil, or nuclear energy.

    And the sad thing is that today, as in right now, the nuclear technologies have never been safer, so much safer than any of th

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by c0lo (1497653)

      The actual unblemished truth is that the popular "renewable" sources can not supply but a minority proportion of the world's needs for energy.

      [citation needed]
      TFA:

      Germany wants to boost the share of the country's power needs generated by renewable energies to 35 percent by 2020 from 17 percent at present.

      Seems that Germany thinks is possible to cover more than 1/3 of its energy needs from renewables, in only 8 years from now. This on top of Germany already producing less than half CO2/capita [google.com] than some other developed nation.

      • 35% is still a minority. What about the other 65% ?

        This [blogspot.com] graph of ERCOT wind production versus demand illustrates the major problem with renewables. Although it is summer, when wind production is low, this is a real power grid with a huge number of large wind turbines. Notice that peak demand coincides almost exactly with minimum production. Notice also that "minimum production" basically means "zero production".

        And while it's true that solar could fill the gap nicely, we will have to (optimistically) li

      • by icebike (68054)

        This on top of Germany already producing less than half CO2/capita [google.com] than some other developed nation.

        That won't last as they shut down the remaining nuclear plants. Nuclear power in Germany accounted for 23% of national electricity consumption.

      • by 517714 (762276)
        Not to support the parent post, but 35%, while impressive, is still "a minority proportion."
    • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Sunday September 18, 2011 @08:24PM (#37436832) Homepage

      It's good that you mention the word "truth" three times, because with your complete lack of sources I would otherwise have worried that your post might be bullshit.

      • by Idou (572394) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @10:20PM (#37437404) Journal
        Such posts will get 5 Insightful just because they support the nuclear industry. It has been a peculiar experience to see just how slanted the community is, especially since I was directly impacted by the Fukushima accident.

        Unfortunate, though. Slashdot is usually a great place to find opinions from those with first hand experience. However, when it comes to nuclear power, it might as well be a site for the nuclear lobby. Those with first hand experience are either too intimidated to post or accused of being liars when they do.
        • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @10:28PM (#37437442) Journal

          Or just far to few to be of any relevance.

        • by Jaktar (975138) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @11:32PM (#37437696)

          I have a combined power plant experience of just about 15 years. 11 of that was nuclear power, the rest has been coal. I live about 5 miles from a nuclear plant.

          In my personal opinion, we need more nuclear plants in the USA. Build the alternative power sources. Supplement what you can. Nuclear power is what we need right now until everything else becomes viable, if ever.

          • by Idou (572394)
            Alright, I take your post as a legitimate testament for plants working within business as usual conditions. However, you have only established that nuclear is the cleaner energy when things go as planned.

            Unfortunately, things do not always go according to plan and your experience seems somewhat lacking in that department. How about I compromise and say that you are free to build all the nuclear plants you like, as long as the technology is deemed safe enough that you can actually get private insurance co
        • by ultranova (717540) on Monday September 19, 2011 @06:22AM (#37439010)

          Unfortunate, though. Slashdot is usually a great place to find opinions from those with first hand experience. However, when it comes to nuclear power, it might as well be a site for the nuclear lobby. Those with first hand experience are either too intimidated to post or accused of being liars when they do.

          There has been two truly serious (someone gets hurt) accidents in the 60-year history of nuclear power: Chernobyl and Fukushima. Chernobyl killed 31 people; Fukushima has yet to kill anyone. Both were caused by a combination of corruption and exceptional circumstances. Contrast this with the 100,000 people who die yearly as a result of coal power working exactly as it's designed to: nuclear power wins hands down on pretty much every metric, even if we count the evacuees of Chernobyl and Fukushima as casualties.

          So, while "first hand experience" of things going wrong makes for nice propaganda for Greenpeace, there simply aren't that many people with it. Decisions should be based on actual statistics, not on who can come up with the most moving sob story. Unless, of course, you don't actually care about making the best or even a good decision, but only on adhering to your ideology (Greenpeace) or getting re-elected (Germany).

    • by diegocg (1680514)

      Renewable energy sources are more than enought to cover the entire world's energy needs. They are expensive, inefficient and their output is very variable, but they are certainly capable of producing 100% or the energy the world uses right now.

    • there is really no other source that can provide the need of our modern society.

      Please define "need[s]" in this context.

      This confusion of wants with needs has perhaps been the cause of countless wars in the Middle East.

      • This confusion of wants with needs has perhaps been the cause of countless wars in the Middle East.

        You misspelled "Organized Religion".

        • This confusion of wants with needs has perhaps been the cause of countless wars in the Middle East.

          You misspelled "Organized Religion".

          There have been many wars in the middle-east. I agree that some have been due to religious conflicts. But I also believe many would have not occurred, or at least not involved the Western powers, if it were not for an unwillingness to forgo cheap oil.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Don't worry. Solar power is going to save us all, provided they get $0.30/kWh subsidies.

      China: Villagers protest at Zhejiang solar panel plant
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-14963354 [bbc.co.uk]

      Oh wait, wind will save us all, provided it doesn't get too hot or cold or windy or calm. That gets wind power 30% efficiency.

      OK, hydroelectric will save us all. OK, that's maxed out already.

      And while we protest, record number of coal and natural gas power plants are getting built. Fraking and ground water pollution

    • ...nuclear technologies have never been safer...

      That's a truism right there. At the same time, the solar energy industry has stagnated in Germany, I believe the topic was posted here on Slashdot about a week ago. So what's going on in Germany?

      BTW, interesting correlation between your user ID and chronological placement of comment.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Move to New Zealand the. We're producing the vast majority of our electricity from hydro power.
      I think its about 70% renewable

    • by quokkaZ (1780340)

      To support what the OP says about the safety of nuclear power, this paper compares the mortality risk from a major radiation accident to that from other environmental factors including air pollution. It concludes that living in the Chernobyl exclusion zone poses a lower mortality risk that does living in the air pollution of central London.

      Are passive smoking, air pollution and obesity a greater mortality risk than major radiation incidents [nih.gov]

      A rare nuclear accident is .... an accident. Air pollution is b

    • There is no single solution to the problem and what often gets left out of the discussion is curbing energy needs so that the false dichotomy of fossil fuels or nuclear appears to be the only choice. Just as no one is addressing the non-renewable aspects of fossil fuels in a serious way (I've only ever heard Buckminster Fuller address it in a realistic fashion) also no one seems to have a real answer in regard to storing the ridiculously long lasting radioactive by-products of energy produced by uranium fi

    • No, the advertising and PR has been better funded, so much better funded than ANY of the alternatives. The cutting edge on the US side is the Japanese derived 1990s design of the AP1000 - thus vast amounts more hype than substance.
      Elsewhere there is hope, but you've really been sold on bullshit instead of reality if you think nuclear stands way ahead of everything else in all situations. In reality a mixture instead of a monoculture works a lot better than some fanboy fantasy.
  • It's not that they fear (or already know about) more security holes in their SIMATIC and the ensuing fallout from it. Nooooo...

    • by diegocg (1680514)

      That's just stupid. SIMATIC is used to automate things, it's not designed to be used only in nuclear power plants. They aren't going to stop making these machines.

      • Of course you can use that in other plants too. But let's be honest, what's the harm if somewhere a mail sorter doesn't work? So mail gets delivered a day late. Here's some money, shut up, nobody who mattered noticed anyway, and we'll cover the three complaints you'll get.

        It's kinda hard to hush up something like Fukushima. You do NOT want your name associated with the answer to the question "Now, how the HELL could something like that happen?"

        • by Sir_Sri (199544)

          And who built Fukushima? Oh right, GE. Doesn't seem to have hurt their reputation any.

          I grant you, the public is stupid. But people with brains, call them 'european elites' if you want, or just the people who should actually be making decisions about these things realize a 40 year old set of reactors hit by a magnitude 9 earthquake and a tsunami is a very different problem than a reactor designed today.

    • ensuing fallout

      *RIMSHOT*

    • yeah, carry on all they want about "renewable resources" and other buzzwords about energy.

      This is about stuxnet.

      Or, rather, about their lawyers' assessment of the potential apocalyptic ramifications of Stuxnet and imitators.
  • by couchslug (175151) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @08:22PM (#37436822)

    Importing power from France is like importing it from one US State to another. The distances are short, Germany can be nuke-free, and can purchase electricity without building expensive infrastructure it doesn't need.

    Germany may as well pay France as dump billions into constructing and maintaining reactors.

    • by diegocg (1680514)

      That's not how the European Union works. Germany is not going to rely on France to provide them electricity, they are going to make plans to produce themselves all the power they need - and export to other countries, if they can.

    • Before the decision to shut down nuclear power in Germany, they were a major exporter of electricity [nytimes.com] with about 90 gigawats of domestic usage and producing 130 gigawatts. Taking away the 25 gigawatts from nuclear and they can just about meet their internal demand, if all goes to plan.

      This winter, Amprion predicts its grid will have 84,000 megawatts of electricity at its disposal, to provide 81,000 megawatts needed for consumption - an uncomfortably slim margin of safety, Mr. Vanzetta said. In prior years, e

      • by Cyberax (705495)

        Nope. They can't because:
        1) Demand is growing.
        2) Wind/solar power needs backup.

        And German industry knows it, that's why many new coal power plants are being built.

        That's why it's highly doubtful that 35% of renewable energy production will be sustained.

  • I do not fault Germany for wanting to increase their reliance on renewable resources for power generation. However, I do fault them for wanting to phase out nuclear power, since it is really the only viable generating method for the future-at-large.

    Think about how much coal and how many coal plants will be required to replace their nuclear plants. I'd rather run the tiny tiny chance of an accident at a nuclear plant than the very large risk that I'll be coughing up black spit and dying at 35 from lung can

  • Russian gas (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quenda (644621) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @08:32PM (#37436866)

    Thats OK, The Germans can rely on their good friends in Russia for a cheap reliable supply of natural gas to fire their power stations for the next century or so while they work on alternatives. What could go wrong?

  • wow (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Chewbacon (797801)
    At first I thought the German government lost it and were overreacting about Japan. But now a company who does business world wide is dropping nuclear power I'm asking myself: is there too much lead in the water over there or is the country just fucking crazy on their own?
    • At first I thought the German government lost it and were overreacting about Japan. But now a company who does business world wide is dropping nuclear power I'm asking myself: is there too much lead in the water over there or is the country just fucking crazy on their own?

      I take it you've never studied this past century's world history?

    • by Idou (572394)
      Maybe the German government and Siemens are privy to information you are not. Might be a bit more reasonable than to assume that they are all "just fucking crazy." But perhaps I am just fucking crazy for proposing a contrary idea?
    • This information will be *invaluable* for Germans as they enter their new era of energy:

      Oui, je vais pencher pour votre énergie nucléaire. Me pénétrer sans pitié. (Yes, I will bend over for your nuclear power. Penetrate me without mercy)

      Laissez-moi le plaisir de votre pénis grenouille. (Let me pleasure your frog penis.)

  • If instead of trying to increase renewable capacity desperately - I'm doubtful about the execution of a very large ramp-up in renewable energy generation capacity in itself - the German government would try to decrease fossil fuel use, they'd save at least 25k lives per year as compared to shutting down nuclear plants and letting fossil fuel based ones operate.

    Based on deaths per TWh [ibm.com](which includes Chernobyl for nuclear), it takes about 160 lives to generate one TWh by coal and 0.04 lives per TWh by nucle
    • by wronski (821189) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @10:21PM (#37437410)
      I didnt realize these plants generated power through human sacrifce. How does that work? I suppose that if you carve out someones heart and then Quetzaqual grants you a few gigajoules.
      • by rtaylor (70602)

        Coal mining deaths are measured in workers per 100,000 ton and the world currently burns roughly 1 billion short-tons per year.

    • Or be accused of mass MURDER!

      Nuclear Slashdot propaganda at its finest . . .
    • by jhol13 (1087781)

      "There are no reactors in existence that are as unsafe as the Chernobyl reactor was."

      The problem is, that the study you give is totally bogus, not alone because of that one lie. Sure all reactors are safer than the one just blew - until they blow. Just check the "core damage frequency" - even the "official" number is a tad big (if all energy in earth is done by nuclear, one reactor will blow every 100 years - history has shown the number to be few orders of magnitude bigger).

      I have not heard of a single sol

      • by khallow (566160)

        "There are no reactors in existence that are as unsafe as the Chernobyl reactor was."

        It's worth noting here that Russia still operates a small number of the reactors of this class. I gather the last one is scheduled to shutdown around 2020 or so.

        The problem is, that the study you give is totally bogus, not alone because of that one lie. Sure all reactors are safer than the one just blew - until they blow. Just check the "core damage frequency" - even the "official" number is a tad big (if all energy in earth is done by nuclear, one reactor will blow every 100 years - history has shown the number to be few orders of magnitude bigger).

        There are reactor designs that don't "blow". The fact that you treat all reactors as equal in their potential for disaster merely indicates that you don't understand the problem.

        I have not heard of a single solar installation fatality - neither has the guy who did the "study". That is why he compared any "rooftop worker" to be equal to solar installation - WTF?

        Nor would you. Someone falling off a roof isn't news.

        Then the time scales are very different. Why not calculate nuclear research done during 40-50's for nuclear energy death toll? Because it would make it look horrible.

        And it would be completely irrelevant to modern nuclear power since the designs have, despite your rambling to the contr

  • Greenwash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by afabbro (33948) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @09:47PM (#37437246) Homepage

    If they were making money hand over fist, they would not be exiting nuclear power. Because they decided to exit nuclear power, they take the opportunity to make it look like they're concerned about society.

    This is not much different than companies saying "we're going green" and getting rid of postal-mail bills. They're "going green" because it saves them money. If it it was more expensive to send email than paper, you can be certain they would still be sending paper.

    • Yes, this!

      Also like hotels that don't want to go to the cost of washing towels everyday - so write a long card justifying that it saves the environment - when really they are just doing it to save money.
    • But only when things go wrong. That is why companies get governments to "insure" them in case things go bad. With Germany pulling out, perhaps Siemens had to start internalizing some of the costs (especially, liabilities) they had previous assumed that the government would "help" them with back when the government was pro-nuke.

      It is funny how Slashdot has so much contempt towards the finance industry when the nuclear industry is so similar in structure. Both take on risks that require government "backing
  • by Sasayaki (1096761) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @10:26PM (#37437430)

    I'll add my voice to the chorus of people supporting nuclear power as the only currently viable solution to meet the growing energy needs of the future. It's just madness at this stage to suggest that any other technology can be:

    A) As environmentally friendly.
    B) As cheap.
    C) As reliable.
    D) As adaptable (goes anywhere in the world).

    • by dbIII (701233) on Monday September 19, 2011 @12:56AM (#37437972)
      Getting a bit of background information on nuclear power may change your opinion on all four points. B and D in paticular demonstrate that you have a lot to learn about this subject. The major clue for D is that since the point of nuclear is vast amounts of heat you then require vast amounts of cooling - not good or bad it just is how it works. That very strickly limits where you can put nuclear installions.
      Nuclear power is interesting stuff so I suggest you get the enjoyment of learning about it instead of just mindlessly singing it's praises and making silly mistakes in the process.
    • by inviolet (797804) <`slashdot' `at' `ideasmatter.org'> on Monday September 19, 2011 @01:18AM (#37438028) Journal

      I'll add my voice to the chorus of people supporting nuclear power as the only currently viable solution to meet the growing energy needs of the future. It's just madness at this stage to suggest that any other technology can be:

      A) As environmentally friendly. B) As cheap. C) As reliable. D) As adaptable (goes anywhere in the world).

      Nuclear power is ridiculously reliable, cheap, and environmentally friendly... in principle.

      In practice, nuclear power plants are built by large groups of humans who are laboring in the presence of perverse incentives. Therefore, a nuclear power plant built by humans will cost about as much as the nearest competitor (natural gas), will be reliable for the time period that the relevant VPs expect to remain at their current post, and will be environmentally friendly in the sense that uranium mining, refining, and disposal are all hand-waved away.

      Don't get me wrong, I am a pro-nuke zealot, and I want nuke plants built no matter what the risk. I am just pointing out that when it comes to this subject, you have forgotten your usual justified level of cynicism about humans.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Fukushima was a very unfortunate incident that was allowed to occur. People around the world are left thinking "well if the Japanese can't do nuclear safely, then nobody can".
    Fact is, those plants were shoddily maintained, of old design, and sited very poorly.

    In fact the location in which they were put, and both the design and location of the backup system beggars belief.

    TEPCO have done the world a great disservice.

  • by Old Wolf (56093) on Monday September 19, 2011 @12:08AM (#37437814)

    Siemens always left me with a bad taste in my mouth

  • Nope... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I'll support no nukes thanks. Not for any hippie bullshit reasons.. But just because the worst case failure modes for nuclear is so bad. And humans and nature have a long established history of fucking things up.

    Yeah coal is bad. Only because we refuse to clean the output or put any modern technology into mineing it. Another fine example of humans fucking something up. There's no reason coal mineing could not be 100% automated. And theres no reason coal output can't be 0 emissions output 100% cle

  • by backslashdot (95548) * on Monday September 19, 2011 @02:29AM (#37438296)

    Please, if we are going to have a witch hunt on fission .. let's at least put some money into nuclear fusion research. Yes Nuclear Fusion research has been progressing slow .. and yes some approaches to fusion have turned out to be much harder that previously anticipate (IEC, laser based fusion) however we shouldn't give up. There was a time when people who tried to build airplanes were ridiculed .. hell even one of the wright brothers sent a letter saying "airplanes will someday fly, but not for a thousand years" .. that was in 1901. Three years later, they built a working airplane.

    They didn't give up and they followed the science. Until the idea of nuclear fusion has been falsified by a consensus of scientists, basic research into it should be funded.

    Now you may ask why government should fund it and not private investors. It's because the huge development time involved doesn't make it feasible for private investors. For example, if they build a large tokamak or laser facility .. the design specifications would have to be based on parameters known today. So to ensure others cannot copy their invention (in case someone leaks the innovative ideas), they would have to patent it. But then the patent clock of 20 years will start today .. and by the time the plant is built they will only have 5 years to recoup their investment cost. Meanwhile others who didn't have to do all the hard research will be able to make great profits. Extending patent terms will not resolve this issue because then you have the issue of other people not doing work in the field and also you may be giving extended patent terms to technologies that are esential to fusion but may stifle advancements in other fields if their patents were valid for long periods --for example if the fusion plant required advanced magnets ... magnets are used in electric car motors as well. The other problems is that it provides a strategic advantage over enemy or potential enemy nations for the US to have leadership in all aspects of the technology. For example, the USA had to invest in rocket technology because the Soviet government was dumping huge amounts of capital into it --> and leadership in the space race was essential for victory in the Cold War. One other reason is that it's in the public interest that a corporation not have control of the fundamental technology.

    So there are plenty of reasons why the USA should invest in fundamental technology. However the USA should not invest in the commercialization aspect of the technology (unless it's in the form of a loan for a capital intensive project like building the first few fusion plants).

    • The US is. There is great work going on right now. Check out https://lasers.llnl.gov/ [llnl.gov]

      It has taken years to build, but it is currently being brought fully online, and we should see a successful fusion experiment later this year, or early next year, and with any luck - commercial reactors based on this design will start being built in the US within the decade.

We can predict everything, except the future.

Working...