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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid