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Power Hardware

German Parliament Backs Nuclear Exit By 2022 364

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?

  • Hey Germany.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 08, 2011 @12:13PM (#36695970)

    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 nedlohs ( 1335013 ) on Friday July 08, 2011 @12:20PM (#36696092)

    Some people are smart enough to realise that while the earthquake/tsunami was the initial cause the same end result could occur via some other event causing cooling failure at a nuke plant.

    Completely junking nuke plants seems a rather short sighted reaction, but what it has to do with Japan is obvious to anyone with at least 3 brain cells.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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 KovaaK ( 1347019 ) on Friday July 08, 2011 @12:59PM (#36696690) Journal

    A man has a pool in his back yard, but the neighborhood kids keep sneaking in at night and peeing in it. The man decides to expand his house around the pool and hire a small squad of 24/7 security personnel for $250,000/year. While the man is at work, a very dedicated psycopath with explosives and automatic weapons takes out the man's on-shift security team, kills his wife, rapes his kids, and pees in his pool. The man's neighbor (Germany) hears about all of this and says "good god, I'm getting rid of my pool now, it's just too dangerous."

    Some people are smart enough to realise that while the earthquake/tsunami was the initial cause the same end result could occur via some other event causing cooling failure at a nuke plant.

    I disagree. I'd say that some people are smart enough to realise that while the damage to the nuclear plants in Japan was unfortunate, it was a casualty of the earthquake/tsunami, not the tragedy itself. Nuclear plants may not be perfect, and they can cause a small amount of harm in incredible circumstances. Things like record-breaking earthquake+tsunamis, acts of war between advanced nations, meteors falling in unfortunate locations... these kinds of incredible circumstances are far worse for the populace than the anything nuclear plants can do. Perspective is important, and the German populace and politicians seem to be lacking it right now.

  • by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <{atd7} {at} {}> 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.)

  • 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.

  • Re:So when are... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gorgonite ( 79857 ) on Friday July 08, 2011 @01:26PM (#36697108)
    Every nuclear accident has its own beauty. The next will be as unexpected as the tsunami.
  • by Helpadingoatemybaby ( 629248 ) on Friday July 08, 2011 @01:46PM (#36697460)
    The fact that you're citing "Wikipedia" speaks for itself, but here's some actual German energy facts: []

    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 also reached a renewable energy electricity penetration of more than 30% on February 7th, 2010." []

    It has doubled the amount of energy from solar panels and, before their nuclear decision, already targeted to have 35% of electricity generation from from renewables by 2020. So while Luddites tell us that France will be selling nuclear power (which France has to heavily subsidize with taxpayer dollars) France already has 6.7% of its energy generation supplied by renewables with their goal of having at least 20% by 2020.

    Meanwhile nuclear plants don't even have their storage issues worked out.

  • by Idou ( 572394 ) on Friday July 08, 2011 @02:37PM (#36698010) Journal
    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 contaminants focused in a small but highly populated and vulnerable region.

    Drop the hubris. Until we invent a way to clean up a mess like Fukushima, we are not ready for the technology. Face it, we screw up all the time, so we should only pick technologies that can be cleaned up after a screw-up. Anything else is a bunch of geeks self-gratifying themselves.
  • Re:Moving on (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lars -1 ( 308687 ) on Friday July 08, 2011 @03:12PM (#36698428)

    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 []. The United States are unfortunately not ratifying it, and remain one of the biggest pollutors in the world.

  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Friday July 08, 2011 @03:15PM (#36698472)

    "You do realize the Fukushima Daiichi plant is 40 years old, right? It was built to regulatory code in the very late 60's/early 70's. "

    So you are saying the new reactor will only kill our kids in 30-40 years or so?
    What a relief.

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

    by matazlmb ( 2039682 ) on Friday July 08, 2011 @03:23PM (#36698540)
    why is it so important? Did you ever see any earthquake or tsunami in Chernobyl or Three Mile Island? Or you are just afraid that solar panels and wind power plants will give you cancer you and mutate your progeny?

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