Tuesday, May 31, 2011

German Government Plans Total Nuclear Shutdown by 2022

Deutsche Welle, May 30, 2011
As public opposition to nuclear power remains high, the German government has announced new plans to phase it out completely in the next 11 years. And the proposal may have a chance at support from the center-left.

The German government on Monday announced plans to completely phase out nuclear energy by 2022, a 14-year acceleration of its previous plans.

Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen announced the proposal in the early hours of Monday, after a 12-hour marathon meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and the junior coalition partners, the Free Democrats (FDP).

"It's definite: the latest end of the last three nuclear power plants is 2022," Röttgen told reporters. "There will be no clause for revision."

Last October, the German parliament voted in favor of a much slower nuclear shutdown, lasting until 2036. The government said that it was necessary to ensure the supply of Germany's energy needs.

After the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan [please see my March blog posts under the category/label "Japan." -- D.R.], public opposition to nuclear energy sharply increased. In March, Merkel announced a temporary shutdown of seven older nuclear plants [Chancellor Angela Merkel decreed that the country's nuclear power reactors which began operation in 1980 or earlier, i.e., Biblis-A, Neckarwestheim 1, Brunsbüttel, Biblis-B, Isar 1, Unterweser, Phillipsburg 1, should be immediately shut down---please see my post/remarks, here. Those units then closed and were joined by another unit/Krümmel already in long-term shutdown, despite having started up in 1984, making a total of 8336 MWe offline under her direction, about 6.4% of the country's generating capacity. -- D.R.]

The new timeline would keep those [...] [eight] plants offline permanently. Six more would be shut down in 2021, and three would stay on until 2022 to ensure no disruption to power supply [Thus, all 17 of the country's nuclear plants will be shut by 2022 -- D.R.]. [Read more]

(Before March's moratorium on the older power plants, nuclear power supplied 23% of Germany's electricity. The United States is the world's biggest nuclear-electricity producer, followed by France, Japan, Russia, South Korea and Germany, according to the 2009 data---please see here. -- D.R.)

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