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Germany to shut nuclear reactors regardless of power disaster

Taking three nuclear crops together with Gundremmingen offline will slash German energy output by 4 gigawatts.

Germany will shut down three nuclear energy crops on Friday at the same time as Europe faces one in all its worst ever power crises, following Angela Merkel’s timetable for phasing out atomic power.

With power costs already on the rise and tensions larger than ever between Europe and key fuel provider Russia, the closure of the crops in Brokdorf, Grohnde and Gundremmingen might effectively tighten the squeeze.

The transfer will halve remaining nuclear capability in Germany and scale back power output by round 4 gigawatts—equal to the facility produced by 1,000 wind generators.

Protests over the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 prompted former chancellor Merkel to set the wheels in movement for abandoning nuclear energy simply over 10 years in the past.

Germany is planning to fully wind down atomic energy by the tip of 2022, when it is going to shut its closing three crops in Neckarwestheim, Essenbach and Emsland.

But with power costs hovering throughout Europe, the timing of the plans coming to fruition might hardly be worse.

Europe’s reference fuel worth, Dutch TTF, hit 187.78 euros per megawatt hour in December—10 instances larger than at first of the yr—and electrical energy costs are additionally hovering.

The spike has been fuelled by geopolitical tensions with Russia, which provides one third of Europe’s fuel.

Western international locations accuse Russia of limiting fuel deliveries to place stress on Europe amid tensions over the Ukraine battle.

Moscow additionally desires to push via the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, set to ship nonetheless extra Russian fuel to Germany.

Price hikes

The finish of nuclear power in Germany will doubtless push costs up even additional, in line with Sebastian Herold, a professor of power coverage on the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences.

“In the long term, the hope is that an increase in renewable energy will balance things out, but this will not be the case in the short term,” he informed AFP.

Until Germany can actually ramp up renewables, it is going to stay depending on fossil fuels to plug the hole left by the nuclear exit.

“This will make Germany more dependent on natural gas overall, at least in the short term, and thus also a little more dependent on Russia,” Herold mentioned.

The transition may take longer than Germany would really like, with progress on renewables slowed lately by opposition to power infrastructure tasks.

The proportion of power generated by renewables is predicted to fall in 2021 for the primary time since 1997—to 42 p.c, in contrast with 45.3 p.c in 2020.

As effectively as driving up costs, the nuclear plant closures will even take away a key supply of low-carbon power in a rustic that’s already struggling to fulfill formidable local weather objectives.

The new coalition authorities underneath Social Democrat Olaf Scholz has pledged to deliver ahead Germany’s deliberate coal exit to 2030 and desires Germany to generate 80 p.c of its electrical energy from renewables by the identical yr.

Second ideas?

But Robert Habeck, the co-leader of the Green social gathering and head of a newly created super-ministry for the economic system and local weather, admitted this week that Germany is already on target to overlook its local weather targets for 2022 and possibly additionally 2023.

Other EU international locations, together with France, are persevering with to push nuclear power and campaigning for it to be included on the EU’s checklist of sustainable power sources eligible for funding.

Even in Germany, public opinion in the direction of nuclear appears to be softening.

In a current YouGov survey for the Welt am Sonntag newspaper, round 50 p.c of Germans mentioned they had been in favour of reversing the deliberate nuclear shutdown as a result of current sharp rise in power costs.

Monika Schnitzer, a member of the German Council of Economic Experts, informed the Rheinische Post newspaper that it could make sense “economically and ecologically” to delay the shutdown.

But the federal government is sticking to Merkel’s plan, with Habeck this week defending the nuclear shutdown.

Any politician calling for the reintroduction of nuclear power “would also have to say, I would like to have the nuclear waste in my constituency,” he mentioned. “As soon as someone says that, I will revisit the issue.”

Merkel: No way back on German plan to end nuclear power use

© 2021 AFP

Germany to shut nuclear reactors regardless of power disaster (2021, December 31)
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