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An end to nuclear energy in Germany… and what’s to come?

June 7, 2011

By Alex Rosen, Germany

Dear all,

It is true, there is now an official decision to phase out of nuclear power in Germany. But we must not forget that this decision has already been agreed on in 2004 and was toppled again by the same government which is now trying to show that it has “learned” from the horrible disaster in Fukushima. Still, their new “compromise” (which was unilaterally agreed upon by the two formerly pro-nuclear parties in government) excludes the more rational approaches offered by the green party or the social democrats, by environmental groups like Greenpeace and organizations like IPPNW Germany. In fact, it is seen by many in Germany as a foul compromise with a lot of back doors. So we are not happy with it and will attempt to have it changed until it hopefully becomes law – through parliamentary debates, broad public discussion and yet more demonstrations. We do not want to wait until 2022 for the last nuclear plant to shut its doors and we do not want to see another 180° turnaround once the political climate permits it.

Also, it is one thing to declare an end to nuclear energy, but it is another to offer plausible alternatives. Cutting down the numerous business-friendly and ecologically harmful tax rebates (for example for business cars, large industry, airlines, Diesel, etc.) could bring about some of the financial means necessary to realize this gigantic undertaking – while at the same time reducing CO2 and indirectly supporting alternative means of energy production. At the same time it will take increasing political support for the growing segment of green technology, regenerative energy production, energy conservation as well as technical and architectural solutions for decreasing energy waste in the future. Instead of trying to conserve the monopoly of the four large energy producers (grown rich and powerful on fossil and nuclear energy), it is tie for a more democratic, liberal and free-market approach, placing more autonomy in the hand of consumers, small solar and wind energy producers, cities willing to meet their own energy needs – this is what the government should be focusing on – but isn’t. This is why it will take much more political effort (also form IPPNW) in order to bring about an energy transition that truly deserves this name. And – it will most likely take another government than this one. Alas, the next federal election is not very far and wth the Green party reaching staggering results even on a federal level, we are in for a new way of tackling this issue in the future.

So – while it is nice to see that the former pro-nuclear blockheads in the FDP and the CDU have come around to the fact that the population does not want to continue along the nuclear path, we are still very far from a meaningful political answer to the questions at hand: how will we produce the energy we need without fossil and nuclear fuel? How will we store it, how will we transport it and how will we finance this transition amidst economic hardships in the EU?

Food for thought – not meaning to crush the optimism, but trying to prevent us from shutting our eyes to the hurdles yet to be taken…

Positive and ecologically optimistic greetings from a sunny Germany, where only 4 out of 17 nuclear plants are currently running (without causing power shortages 😉 and where we currently produce more than twice as much energy with regenerative methods than through nuclear power…

All the best,

Alex Rosen

One Comment
  1. June 7, 2011 12:38 pm

    spot on, Alex!

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