News / Europe

    Germany to Phase Out Nuclear Power by 2022

    Germany to abandon nuclear energy in favor of renewable sources. Eight nuclear power plants already closed, there are plans to phase out all 17 by 2022.

    The blur of car lights passing by the nuclear power plant Biblis, south of Frankfurt, central Germany, in a Jan 23, 2006 file photo. Germany's plan to start shutting down its 17 nuclear reactors as early as next year. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
    The blur of car lights passing by the nuclear power plant Biblis, south of Frankfurt, central Germany, in a Jan 23, 2006 file photo. Germany's plan to start shutting down its 17 nuclear reactors as early as next year. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

    Multimedia

    Audio

    The Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant meltdown in March along with domestic political pressures prompted German Chancellor Angela Merkel to abandon nuclear energy in favor of renewable sources.

     

    Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
    Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

     

    With eight nuclear power plants already shut down, Germany plans to phase out all 17 by 2022.

    The German government intends to replace atomic energy with solar, wind and hydroelectric power.

    The implications for Europe are enormous. The Swedes are worried about an increase in electricity prices across Europe and the French government claims that there is no way that the EU can meet its emission cutting targets without at least some use of nuclear power.

    Nonetheless, Merkel hopes that countries will follow Germany’s lead.

     

    Germany to Phase Out Nuclear Power by 2022
    Germany to Phase Out Nuclear Power by 2022

     

    Speaking on VOA’s Encounter, Steve Kerekes (left photo), Senior Director of Media Relations at the Nuclear Energy Institute told host Carol Castiel that Germany must prepare its citizenry and businesses to pay for the phase-outs, involving national security, energy and economic growth costs. “You cannot run a modern industrial economy on power sources that have that type of capacity. If you want to do it, as the Germans are going to find out, you just better be ready to pay for it,” says Kerekes.

     

    (Photo: The Heinrich Böll Foundation)
    (Photo: The Heinrich Böll Foundation)

     

    On the other hand, Arne Jungjohann (left photo), Director of the Environment and Global Dialogue Program at the Heinrich Böll Foundation, explains that although the nuclear phase-out and transition to renewable energy sources would entail a cost increase to taxpayers, it would be modest. “The majority of people say they’d rather pay a little bit more on electricity,” says Jungjohann.

    Given Germany’s high population density and its relatively small geographic size, Jungjohann believes the risk of something happening with any of the 17 nuclear power plants would result in an environmental catastrophe.

     

    Germany to Phase Out Nuclear Power by 2022
    Germany to Phase Out Nuclear Power by 2022

     

    Jungjohann asserts that investing in renewable energy sources will pay off for Germany. “It’s a very exciting movement because on the one hand, you create these new jobs… solar manufacturing plants or wind turbine makers, on the other hand you create new jobs in very traditional industries… So German steel workers work a lot for the wind industry to produce these plates,” says Jungjohann. He predicts long-term success with this dual strategy of creating jobs in the green sector as well as in the industrialized sector where there is constant growth.

    Arne Jungjohann and Steve Kerekes sparred over the inherent risks and benefits of nuclear power.

    Jungjohann believes that nuclear power has hit its peak in Germany.  “We see now that it’s [nuclear power] quite risky, it is quite dirty, we don’t know what to do with the waste…and overall it doesn’t seem to be competitive in terms of its economics,” says Jungjohann.

    Conversely, Kerekes deems that in the long term, the benefits of nuclear power outweigh its risks. He quotes US epidemiologist John Boice who says that the health effects from the Japanese disaster “should be thankfully minor because of the protective actions taken…Radiation is very easy to detect…that makes things easier and the impact to the populations outside Japan will be negligible to nonexistent,” cites Kerekes.

     

    Germany to Phase Out Nuclear Power by 2022
    Germany to Phase Out Nuclear Power by 2022

     

    As for the United States, Kerekes says that despite the Fukushima events, Washington appears to be on the path to developing nuclear power as well as other clean energy sources. He says that the United States is not following Germany’s path just yet, but may in the future.

    Kerekes questions how effective and successful renewable energy sources will be for Germany. “There’s a reason that Germany has been able to achieve this status as the fourth largest economy…and that’s in large part because of the proven ability of nuclear energy to provide large amounts of electricity reliably,” says Kerekes.

    But Jungjohann projects Germany’s future as moving away from its nuclear past. “We are all very confident we can stick to our ambitious climate targets.”

    You May Like

    Wife of IS Leader Charged in Death of US Hostage

    Suspect allegedly admitted to being responsible for American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who officials say was sexually abused and ‘owned’ by one IS member

    Year of the Monkey Could Prove Economic Balancing Act for China

    China is up against a tricky situation on the financial front, facing the need to fight capital flight while also stopping a further slide of foreign currency reserves

    Runners Attempt 26-mile South Pole Marathon in Sub-Zero Temperatures

    How alluring is running 26.2 miles at 10,000 feet when it’s minus 31 Celsius out?

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.