Unhappy new year: Germany closes three nuclear plants

January 4, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
E.ON subsidiary Preussen Elektra’s Grohnde nuclear plant, located near the town of Hameln in Lower Saxony, on the banks of the Weser River. (Wikimedia/Heinz-Josef Lücking)

Holding to its Fukushima-inspired policy of phasing out nuclear power, and ignoring pleas from a variety of clean energy advocates to reconsider, Germany has closed three of its remaining six operating nuclear power plants.

The Economist on nuclear: “France says it is green. Germany says it isn’t. France will win.”

November 3, 2021, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
(Source: Peter Schrank/The Economist)

“Where nuclear power was once a source of unity for Europe, today it is a source of discord.” So states The Economist’s October 30 “Charlemagne” column—a regular source of commentary on European politics in the weekly publication—before deftly dissecting nuclear power’s continental divide and picking a winner.

Germany could save 1 billion tons of CO2 by 2045, says study

October 26, 2021, 9:31AMNuclear News

“The price of anti-nuclear psychosis (for that is what it is) will be paid by vulnerable countries and future generations who suffer the escalating damages of climate breakdown,” writes environmentalist and author Mark Lynas in the foreword to a new study, One Billion Tons: CO2 Reductions and a Faster Coal Exit in Germany. “This report puts numbers on this price to be paid for the first time—a nice round number of a billion tons.”

According to Lynas, the billion tons is the “opportunity cost” of the German government’s plan to shutter its remaining nuclear power plants by 2022 while keeping its coal plants going until 2038. (Three of those plants, Brokdorf, Grohnde, and Gundremmingen, are scheduled to close later this year.)

Intellectuals plead with Germany to keep remaining nuclear

October 18, 2021, 3:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe
The Brokdorf nuclear plant, located in Germany’s Schleswig-Holstein region on the Elbe river, is scheduled to close later this year. (Photo: Alois Staudacher, CC BY-SA 3.0)

In an open letter published last week in Welt, 25 leading German and foreign academics, environmentalists, and journalists attempt to convince the German people that continuing with their nation’s phase-out of nuclear power is not a good idea, and certainly not a green one.

Germany: Coal tops wind energy in 2021, but there’s more to the story

September 23, 2021, 7:02AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Coal-fired plants fed the most power to Germany's electricity grid in the first half of 2021, while wind power dropped to its lowest level since 2018. As a September 13 article published on the German news site DW.com explained, the situation was blamed in part on a wind energy shortfall that is causing power price spikes across Europe.

Germany settles with utilities over nuclear phaseout

March 15, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News

RWE’s Gundremmingen nuclear plant, located in Bavaria, is slated to close at the end of the year. Photo: Wikipedia/Felix König

After years of litigation, Germany has reached an agreement with four utility companies on compensation for losses incurred as a result of the government’s stunning decision in 2011 to abandon nuclear power. In March of that year, only days after the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a 180-degree reversal in the country’s energy policy, which had been one of support for nuclear power. Eight units were shut down immediately, and by May 2011 the government had announced a plan to close all nuclear power plants by 2022.

The companies will receive a total of €2.4 billion (about $2.85 billion), with €1.4 billion going to Sweden-based Vattenfall and the remaining €1 billion split between German utilities RWE (€880 million), EnBW (€80 million), and E.ON (€42.5 million). In return, the companies have agreed to terminate all phaseout-related legal disputes with the government.