In the coming years, Germany wants to switch exclusively to renewable and ecological energy sources. They see in them not only a climate-friendly solution for the protection of the planet, but also energy security. This is because the Germans will get rid of their dependence on fossil fuels, the resources of which they do not have for their own needs.
In Germany, the last three nuclear power plants are now in service, namely Emsland in Lower Saxony, Neckarwestheim 2 in Baden-Württemberg and Isar 2 in Bavaria. They were originally expected to be shut down at the end of last year. Due to the energy crisis, which broke out in full after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, when Europe began to quickly replace gas and oil from Russia with raw materials from other sources, the deputies extended the operation of the reactors until April 15 at the suggestion of the government.
There is a broad political and social consensus in Germany on the closure of the reactors, but the date when this should happen is questionable. The previous government of conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel had already decided to end nuclear energy production. The impetus for this was the accident of the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan in 2011.
Poland and Westinghouse signed a contract to build a nuclear power plant
In recent days, reservations against disconnecting the reactors have been expressed by trade unions. The head of the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), Peter Adrian, pointed out that Germany should wait to take this step until the energy crisis is over, as energy prices remain high despite the drop in natural gas prices. He identified energy security as another reason for keeping the reactors in operation due to the current complex international situation.
The majority of the public would now agree with the longer operation of nuclear power plants. A survey by the Insa agency for Sunday’s Bild am Sonntag showed that 52 percent of Germans see the decision to shut down the remaining three nuclear power plants as bad, 37 percent support it, and the rest have no clear opinion.
The opposition, as well as the government’s liberals, requested a longer period for the permanent shutdown of nuclear power plants, proposing two years, but Social Democratic Chancellor Olaf Scholz refused. Nuclear operation in Germany will thus end definitively on Saturday.
The danger of nuclear waste
When Lemke spoke at a press conference at the end of March about the tasks that await the country after the reactors are disconnected, she declared that Germany will enter a new era on April 15. “Going nuclear will make our country safer because nuclear power is a high-risk technology. This was shown to us, for example, by the accidents in Fukushima and Chernobyl, especially in times of war,” she said at the time.
Lemke also pointed out that Germany will not get rid of the risks of nuclear energy by decommissioning the reactors. A huge amount of radioactive waste will remain here. “We have used nuclear power plants in our country for three generations, but the waste will be dangerous for another 30,000 generations,” she said.
The definitive end of the core in Germany. We can handle it, assures Habeck
Germany’s conservation association BUND says Germany will have to deal with more than 600,000 cubic meters of low- and medium-level radioactive waste and about 30,000 cubic meters of highly radioactive waste.
Germany is still looking for a place to permanently store highly radioactive waste. What such storage should look like is regulated by the law, which states that geological stability should ensure safe storage for a million years. A decision on the location should be made by 2031 so that storage can begin by 2050.
After moving away from nuclear, Germany also wants to stop producing energy by burning coal. The government of Social Democratic Chancellor Olaf Scholz, which consists of the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens and the liberal Free Democrats (FDP), would like to close coal-fired power plants by 2030.
Also, by 2030, the German government coalition wants to achieve 80 percent of energy production from renewable sources. Last year, according to data from the Federal Ministry of Economy, it was around 44 percent. The next milestone in Germany should be the year 2045, when the country should be climate neutral. This is a state where greenhouse gas emissions and measures to neutralize them are in balance.
ČEZ has sites for small modular reactors. They could also be in Temelín or Dukovany
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