Germany completes nuclear phaseout; better news from Finland

April 17, 2023, 3:13PMNuclear News
The Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant in Germany.

Ignoring a last-minute plea from a long list of scientific luminaries (including Nobel laureate Steven Chu and climate scientist James Hansen) to reconsider, as well as recent polls showing pronuclear sentiment among a majority of its population, Germany shut down its last three operating nuclear power plants late Saturday, ending 60-plus years of electricity generation from fission. (Germany’s first nuclear power plant, Kahl, was commissioned in 1961 and closed in 1985.)

German public supports nuclear power

February 6, 2023, 7:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe

A new survey by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) indicates that 71 percent of the German public supports the continued use of nuclear energy in the country, while 29 percent want it ended. The survey results, which were reported by German news source Bild and elsewhere, come amid ongoing controversy regarding the current plans by the German government to shut down the nation’s three remaining nuclear power plants in mid-April.

Looking back at 2022—October through December

January 6, 2023, 9:09AMNuclear News

Another calendar year has passed. Before heading too far into 2023, let’s look back at what happened in 2022 for the American Nuclear Society and the nuclear community. In today's post that follows, we have compiled from Nuclear News and Nuclear Newswire what we feel are the top nuclear news stories from September through December 2022.

But first:

Countries change nuclear policies in response to Ukraine war

January 6, 2023, 7:09AMNuclear News

As a direct result of the war in Ukraine, several countries have changed their policies on nuclear energy—even those with long-standing nuclear phase-out plans. This February will mark one year since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, leading to ongoing war and turning pandemic-era energy shortages into a global energy crisis. Spiking gas prices and concerns about electricity supply during the cold winter months have thrown many governments into a frenzy as they try to ease the impact on their citizens.

Countries in the process of phasing out their nuclear power had been prepared to increase their reliance on natural gas. But as Russia supplies 40 percent of the European Union’s natural gas, nations with no reliable alternative now face sky-high energy prices—even energy poverty. Across Europe and beyond, nuclear power plants slated for permanent closure have been given second chances to shore up energy supply. Nuclear power has also claimed a bigger spotlight in countries’ strategies for energy independence.

Germany to keep last nuclear plants running through winter

October 20, 2022, 3:06PMNuclear News
The Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant in Germany. (Photo: EnBW)

German chancellor Olaf Scholz has provided what appears to be the final word on the fate of his country’s three remaining operating nuclear power plants.

Via an October 17 letter, Scholz informed economy and energy minister Robert Habeck, environment minister Steffi Lemke, and finance minister Christian Lindner of his decision to keep all three facilities operating “beyond 31 December 2022 until 15 April 2023 at the latest.” The order ends months of argument between Scholz’s two coalition partners—the stridently antinuclear Greens and the center-right Free Democrats (FDP)—regarding the plants’ continued operation. (Habeck and Lemke are Green Party members, while Lindner is with the FDP.)

Germany’s nuclear decision: Hold the confetti for now

August 17, 2022, 3:03PMNuclear News
The Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant in Germany.

For the few members of the nuclear community who haven’t already been made aware, the Wall Street Journal yesterday published a story headlined “Germany to Keep Last Three Nuclear Power Plants Running in Policy U-Turn.” According to the WSJ, the German government plans to postpone retirement of the plants—all of which had been slated for closure by the end of 2022—fearing an inadequate energy supply this winter.

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 explained, the situation was blamed in part on a wind energy shortfall that is causing power price spikes across Europe.