The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Top legal adviser backs German government levy on nuclear fuel

justiceflag-EURWE, EON Fall as Court Aide Backs German Nuclear-Fuel Tax by   
February 3, 2015 (Bloomberg) – EON SE fell the most in a month and RWE AG had its steepest plunge since mid-December after an adviser to the European Union’s top court backed a German levy on nuclear fuel that the country’s biggest utilities have been fighting as illegal.

EON declined 3.92 percent, to 13.375 euros a share at the close in Frankfurt, and RWE fell 4.55 percent to 23.905 euros a share after Advocate General Maciej Szpunar of the EU Court of Justice said in a non-binding opinion that the German nuclear-fuel tax doesn’t violate EU rules. The Luxembourg-based court follows such advice in most cases.

German’s unprecedented switch to renewables has forced traditional utilities to close nuclear reactors and seen power prices slide for a fourth year. Essen-based RWE hasn’t ruled out following EON’s lead in breaking itself up.

 The EU court’s ruling, which is expected within four to six months, will help decide the outcome of pending lawsuits by companies including RWE and EON against the country’s nuclear-fuel tax. German utilities won rulings in Hamburg and Munich, while a Stuttgart court cleared the tax………

Germany’s so-called energy shift has forced utilities to close nuclear reactors and undermined power prices. The nuclear fuel tax also contributed to harming the companies’ profitability from 2011. EON’s plan to break itself up is the most radical response yet to the changes.

Nuclear exit is at the core of other pending litigation in Germany and the country’s top court is reviewing the constitutionality of the nuclear-exit laws and the fuel tax.

February 4, 2015 Posted by | EUROPE, Germany, Legal | Leave a comment

Germany’s Constitutional Court will hear nuclear utilities’ complaints about early nuclear shutdowns

justiceGerman court to decide on nuclear exit complaints this year Tuesday, January 27, 2015 CSTDUESSELDORF/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany’s highest court aims to decide this year on complaints filed by the country’s biggest utilities against a decision to shut down its nuclear plants earlier than initially planned, a court spokesman said on Tuesday.

E.ON , RWE and Vattenfall [VATN.UL] filed complaints with the Constitutional Court after the government imposed a stricter closure timetable in 2011 as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan……..

The court will not decide on individual damages claims – estimated to total at least 15 billion euros ($17 billion) – but its decision could provide the legal basis for such motions should it rule the government’s decision is illegal.

The court spokesman said he could not be more precise about the timing of the ruling, adding it still needed to be decided whether a hearing would take place.

RWE, Germany’s second-biggest utility, said it expects a ruling in the second half of the year.

The complaints are part of a number of legal steps being pursued by RWE and its peers over Germany’s nuclear policy, including a nuclear fuel tax and the immediate three-month shutdown of all of its nuclear power stations following the Fukushima disaster.

($1 = 0.8787 euros)

(Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff and Christoph Steitz; Editing by Maria Sheahan and John Stonestreet)

January 27, 2015 Posted by | Germany, Legal | Leave a comment

Under France’s nuclear waste dump – a geothermal energy source!

flag-franceThe Inconvenience of a Geothermic Energy Source Under France’s Nuke Waste Dump

The French weekly newspaper Le Canard enchaîné provides aggressive and biting coverage of the nuclear establishment in a way that mainstream media refrain from doing. Le Canard has been in print since 1915, except for a period during the German occupation when it was forced to close. The journal had a moment of international fame in September 2013 when it ran satirical cartoons about Tokyo being awarded the 2020 Olympics in spite of Japan’s troubles containing its nuclear catastrophe.

Unfortunately for readers who would like easy access to its reporting,Le Canard has stuck to its policy of being print-only……..

highly-recommendedNuclear Waste on the Aquifer by Professor Canardeau translation of Des déchets (nucléaires) sur la nappeLe Canard enchaîné December 2014

A huge pocket of warm water exists beneath what is supposed to be France’s largest nuclear garbage pit, located near the town Bure. This site is destined to store, for at least 100,000 years, the most dangerous high-level waste that has accumulated since France built its first reactor. 125 meters tall, 30 kilometers wide and dozens of kilometers long, this reserve of warm water could sooner or later be used to produce heat or energy. The water is a comfortable 66 degrees, but it is found at a depth of 1,800 meters, while the nuclear waste is to be buried above it at a depth of 500 meters.

justiceOn January 5, 2015, the agency for the management of radioactive waste (ANDRA) will find itself on trial in high court in Nanterre for having divulged false information concerning the supposed absence of concern about significant underground water tables at the site in Bure. The citizen groups Sortir du nucléaireand Stop Bure 55, and Mirabel Lorraine Nature Environnement have brought the charges.

Some background: Continue reading

January 26, 2015 Posted by | ENERGY, Germany, Legal, Reference | Leave a comment

Subsidies to coal and nuclear power cost German electricity consumers €40bn a year

Fossils and nuclear ‘twice RE’s cost’ to German taxpayers By Bernd Radowitz in Berlin , January 16 2015 Subsidies and hidden costs of fossil-fired and nuclear power in 2015 are slated to be about double the amount German consumers pay via a surcharge on their electricity bill to finance the expansion of renewable energies, claims a study by the forum for ecological and social market economy (FÖS) commissioned by Greenpeace Energy.

German electricity consumers via the EEG surcharge pay about €20bn ($23bn) per year to finance the build-up of solar, wind, biomass and other renewable energies, while the hidden costs of conventional power sources both in 2014 and 2015 reach some €40bn a year, the study says.

Included are direct subsidies and financial concessions, as well as external costs society has to come up with for environmental damage or the final storage of nuclear waste.

“Renewable energies aren’t just cleaner, but in the end also significantly cheaper than coal or nuclear,” says Marcel Keiffenheim, head of politics and communication atGreenpeace Energy, an independent power provider.


“But the problem is that the high costs of coal and nuclear are hidden from power clients and are being paid indirectly via taxes and other contributions.

The scientists behind the study emphasise that renewable energies aren’t driving up the cost of power supply as had been argued frequently in fierce discussions in Germany about power prices – but on the contrary replace more expensive energy sources that have higher costs to taxpayers and society.

“If utilities had to take into account those additional costs in their calculations, renewable energies already today to a great degree would be competitive,” said Swantje Küchler, who led the study for FÖS.

A kilowatt hour of wind power from newly-built machines now costs between €0.051 and €0.087, while nuclear power including the hidden costs would come at a price of €0.185-€0.498, lignite at a cost of €0.126-€0.141, and hard coal at a cost of €0.147-€0.167, the study says.

January 17, 2015 Posted by | Germany, politics | Leave a comment

25% renewable energy – the biggest contributor to Germany’s electricity production

logo-EnergiewendeGermany Exceeds 25% Renewable Energy 2014 is the first year renewable energy has been the major source in Germany’s electricity generation mix.

According to preliminary surveys by the German Association of Energy and Water (BDEW), renewable energy based electricity generation reached 25.8 percent this year; up from 24.1 percent last year. Renewables provided 27.3 percent of gross domestic electricity consumption in 2014.

Electricity from renewables increased from 152.4 to 157.4 billion kilowatt-hours (expected). Wind turbines contributed 52.4 billion kWh and solar panel systems generated 35.2 billion kWh – the latter almost 14 percent more power than last year.

Biomass electricity production was up five percent from 46.6 billion kWh to 48.9 billion kWh and electricity generation from hydroelectric power reached 20.8 billion kWh.

Coal-fired power in Germany during 2014 was 10% less than in 2013. Coal’s share in the nation’s energy mix dropped to 18%. Gas-fired power plants dropped to 9.7% and nuclear energy’s share increased by half a percent to 15.9%.

2014 saw all sorts of new renewable energy related records set in Germany. Most recently, wind power achieved a new record of 29.7 GW peak power production on December 12. According to the Fraunhofer Institute, wind based electricity production on that day was 562 GWh.

” Both figures represent new records,” says Prof. Dr. Bruno Burger. ” The last records of 5th of December 2013 with a maximum power of 26.3 GW and a daily energy of 485 GWh have been exceeded by 13% resp. 16%.”

On a day in April this year, renewables made up nearly 3/4 of peak domestic German power demand.

By the end of October this year, Germany had 35.062 GW of onshore wind capacity and 616 MW offshore. Installed solar power capacity had reached 38.124 GW.

December 31, 2014 Posted by | Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

Pathetic selling effort by the nuclear industry carpet-baggers

The so-called luminaries attempting to sell (or should that be “shill”) Mad Maxatomstrom are lightweights like Robert Stone who, having made a bad propaganda documentary about nuclear energy sees himself as some kind of expert. Also on the list is Patrick Moore, the notorious paid proponent not only of nuclear but the chemical industry, (as in bring back DDT), the genetic engineering industry, and clear-cut logging. (How does any self-respecting reporter still dare to refer to him as an “environmentalist”?) And then there’s the blinkered Barry Brook who wrongly claimed that North Korea never signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and buys the completely discredited IAEA-WHO death figure of 60 for the Chernobyl disaster.

The obvious conclusion is that Mad Maxatomstrom is another desperate, last-ditch attempt by the nuclear coven to cling on to a corner of the energy sector, at least in the mind’s eye if not in the actual marketplace


The Nuclear Carpet-Baggers  Mad Maxatomstrom: Just Here for the Money by LINDA PENTZ GUNTER

Except there won’t be much. Money that is. Because the Mad Maxatomstrom plan is to carpet-bag into Germany and try to sell them on nuclear energy and only nuclear energy. Yes, you read that right, Mad Maxatomstrom is Germany’s “first provider of 100 percent nuclear power.” (Okay, the company is actually called Maxatomstrom, but the business plan is so mad, who could resist?)

I say “carpet-bag” because notably all the “spokespeople” are anglo-saxon, most of them pulled from the Evangelical School of Nuclear Deniers. They are also all male and all white. Make of that what you choose.

It’s fitting that this new all-nuclear energy company was apparently launched by a member of Germany’s so-called Pirate Party (it has no members of Parliament.) When I first read the press release I thought it was a spoof. It’s also telling that the company could not find a single, prominent German spokesperson.

And I say “not much money” because there are so many other better and equally competitive, if not cheaper, electricity choices already in Germany, some of which are providers of 100% renewable energy. Germany-based anaylst Craig Norris ran the Maxatomstrom numbersand got “three different offers, each around 50 euros a month – an absolutely unremarkable outcome (it’s basically what I pay right now for 100 percent green power.)” So these pirates won’t really be doing so well in the plundering-the-German-people department.

Mad Maxatomstrom claims it already boasts 3,000 customers! Wow, that’s just a tenth of the amount of people still employed in Germany’s declining nuclear sector, and about 100th of the people employed in the growing renewable energy sector. The local Mom and Pop corner store probably does better. Continue reading

December 26, 2014 Posted by | Germany, marketing | Leave a comment

Germany models the way to cut greenhouse gases, for a coal-free, nuclear-free future

logo-EnergiewendeThe international community has at its disposal more than sufficient renewable resources and the technical capabilities to sustainably harvest these sources. And given the total cost calculations mentioned earlier, we have a moral responsibility to do so. The time for a transition, then, is now. An Energiewende by any other name will still smell as sweet

How Germans Go Green Germany is laying out a model for how to gut greenhouse gas emissions.US By  and  Dec. 9, 2014  With the German government’s reaffirmation this month of carbon emissions reduction goals of 40 percent by 2020, and its courageous commitment to phase out coal, the country is now leading the world with an aggressive and unparalleled climate action plan. This sets a new bar for nations gathering in Lima, Peru, for climate talks.

Germany’s energy transition, or Energiewende, and its aggressive goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 is a direct result of experiencing, firsthand, the risks that come with dirtier and more dangerous fuels. Germany first targeted nuclear and now it’s targeting coal – and for good reason.

Phasing out nuclear energy was a decision based on two factors Germans found so convincing that they now won’t even accept nuclear power as a bridge technology: the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe and the question of nuclear waste storage.

The decision to opt-out of nuclear power started with Chernobyl, and the nuclear contamination of Germany 28 years ago, and it ended with the Fukushima disaster. By then, nuclear power had lost all traction with the German public. Additionally, there was no conclusive evidence of how to deal with nuclear waste responsibly. This meant that the true cost of producing a kilowatt-hour of nuclear energy remained unknown, leaving most Germans skeptical.

That nuclear rationale is relevant to Germany’s current response to coal. While coal’s catastrophic risks may not be as immediately visible as Chernobyl or Fukushima, the costs are equally immense. Both nuclear and coal come with an incredibly high capacity to contaminate natural resources. And nuclear and coal pollutants don’t disappear over time. They accumulate and contaminate quickly and the consequences will be borne most heavily by future generations.

On nuclear, disposing radioactive waste in deep rock formations with high radiation density and little geological activity is not a sustainable option. Leaks are likely and already occurring. On coal, a vast quantity of heavy metals, toxins and radioactive substances are emitted by all power plants that use coal for electricity generation. Even the most modern and effective filters do not enable coal-fired power plants to be zero emission.

Coal-fired power plants, in particular, emit large amounts of greenhouse gases that have a direct impact on global warming and the inevitable rise of sea levels, as well as extreme weather events. And coal’s contaminating potential is indiscriminate, transcending boundaries and borders, and equally culpable for catastrophic consequences…………….

A responsible alternative, then, if carbon taxes and trading mechanisms are unfeasible or fallible, is to ramp up renewable energy investments, as Germany has done with its Energiewende and will continue to do. And why not: The international community has at its disposal more than sufficient renewable resources and the technical capabilities to sustainably harvest these sources. And given the total cost calculations mentioned earlier, we have a moral responsibility to do so. The time for a transition, then, is now. An Energiewende by any other name will still smell as sweet.

December 10, 2014 Posted by | Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

Dirty tricks involved in Eon’s move to renewable energy

secret-agent-Smflag_germanyThe filthy tricks behind splitting German nuclear power producer Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 05/12/2014  The filthy tricks behind splitting German nuclear power producerBy Jochen Stay

 Jochen Stay, born 1965, has been active in non-parliamentary movements since he turned 15. Since 1985 public protests stopped a nuclear fuel processing plant being built in Wackersdorf, Bavaria, he’s been an anti-nuclear activist. Since 2008 he’s been the spokesman for the anti-nuclear group, .ausgestrahlt.

Some praise Eon for apparently abandoning its nuclear and coal business and announcing it’s witching to renewable energies in future. But they overlook what’s really driving this splitting into two enterprises.

The outsourcing of nuclear and coal power production under a new name does not lead to Eon customers having less dirty energy delivered to their homes in future. The then make-believe-green company will continue to buy from the new sister company. It’s just not as obvious – and hence less bad for the image.

In future the Eon logo will no longer be on the coal and nuclear power stations, even though Eon will remain the biggest buyer of the power they produce. It’s a way of keeping customers who don’t want to trade with firms directly co-responsible for nuclear waste and the climate catastrophe. This kind of thing is normally called label fraud or greenwashing.

And so it’ll be harder in future to persuade Eon customers to change to other suppliers, seeing that their present one, after all, has become totally green.

When the company publishes numbers that put the self-produced green power in the foreground but hide the bought-in dirty power, a completely false impression will be created in consumers. And the negative headlines about mishaps in power stations, legal action against stopping nuclear power and nuclear waste scandals will then be pasted on the new no-name company, which will be owned by the same shareholders as ever.

The outsourced dirty power department can then act totally without scruples because it no longer has to worry about its reputation – after all, it doesn’t supply any consumers directly.

Eon chief Johannes Teyssen is already wooing investors to the new entity with prospects of billions in compensation legal action is attempting to pry from the government because it ordered closure of a few old nuclear power stations in 2011.

There’s another dangerous background to the splitting of the Düsseldorf based energy giant: in future Eon can no longer be made liable for the costs that will accrue for the dismantling of power stations and the storage of nuclear waste. The reserves set aside for these activities, which fall far short of what will be needed, will pass together with the stations to the new enterprise.

Since these reserves aren’t kept in a bank safe or a fixed term account somewhere, but are invested in coal stations, for example, that are becoming ever less profitable because of the energy turnaround, even many of these very inadequate funds are in danger of being lost.

Sooner or later the new corporation will fall bankrupt and the state will have to shoulder the burden, while Eon, freed of old burdens, can happily continue raking in profits by passing coal and nuclear power to unsuspecting consumers.

This is how this Eon outsourcing under a new name will quasi become a “bad company” – analogous to a “bad bank” in the finance crisis: everything that isn’t profitable in the long term is shoved off into state responsibility.

The fact that the federal economics minister, Sigmar Gabriel, welcomes the Eon split in this situation and claims that the reserves are both secure and adequate is scandalous.

Instead, the federal government must block Eon’s plans and ensure that those who for decades made billions from nuclear and coal power have to pay for the consequences.

December 5, 2014 Posted by | Germany, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Germany steps up program to shut down coal power plants

flag_germanyGermany may shut down eight more coal power plants, document shows, SMH, November 24, 2014 Germany is working on a new law to force energy companies to shut down several more coal-fired power plants as it tries to reach ambitious climate goals, a document seen by Reuters showed on Sunday.

According to a draft legislation prepared by the economy ministry, energy companies will be asked to reduce carbon emissions by at least 22 million tonnes by 2020.

Some 50 facilities already registered for decommission will not count, however, meaning that a further eight coal-fired power stations may be closed down……..

Although Germany has seen a boom in green energy, accounting for about 25 per cent of overall power generation, environmentalists criticise the country for its continued dependence on coal-fired plants, which made up nearly half of power generation last year.

The latest reduction in carbon emissions, if put into effect, would be shared equally between Germany’s power companies, among them major energy firms RWE, E.ON and Vattenfall…….

The latest measure is part of a raft of new climate rules which Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet is expected to decide on Dec. 3. The programme will also include steps to boost energy efficiency.

Merkel’s government wants renewables to make up between 40-45 per cent of power generation by 2025 and 55-60 per cent by 2035 – targets that experts say are ambitious for an industrialised country.

The European Union agreed last month a pledge to cut greenhouse gases by at least 40 per cent in 2030.

November 26, 2014 Posted by | climate change, Germany | 1 Comment

Germany’s debate about scrapping coal energy, as well as nuclear

flag_germanyAfter nuclear phase-out, Germany debates scrapping coal, Yahoo 7 By Mathilde Richter | AFP – Sun, Nov 23, 2014 After deciding to scrap nuclear power, Germany is pondering saying goodbye to coal, its biggest energy source but also its top polluter and main threat to ambitious climate goals.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is split on the issue, which pits a vocal environmental movement against energy giants and coal mining regions, with only weeks until her cabinet is set to present its next climate action plan.

Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks has said that if Europe’s biggest economy doesn’t reduce coal use, it has no chance of meeting its 2020 target of cutting Earth-warming carbon emissions by 40 percent from three decades earlier. Hendricks’ cabinet colleague in charge of the economy and energy, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, sees things differently and has argued that coal is here to stay, citing energy security, cost and many thousands of jobs.

“We can’t simultaneously get out of nuclear and coal,” Gabriel, the leader of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) who co-govern with Merkel’s conservatives, has said.

Merkel decided after Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster to shutter all atomic reactors by 2022. By mid-century Germany aims to meet 80 percent of its power needs with renewables such as wind, solar and biogas, which now generate around a quarter.

But an unintended consequence of the “Energiewende”, or energy transition has been a rise in the use of coal, which now generates 46 percent of electricity.

The coal boom in Germany is in part an echo of US shale gas boom.

Cheap natural gas in the United States means coal is being exported to Europe where it undercuts expensive Russian gas, making cleaner and more flexible modern gas plants unprofitable, and several have shut down.

Another factor has been the collapse of the European emissions market, a system meant to factor in the environmental cost of burning fossil fuels. As the penalty for carbon emissions has dropped in price, coal plants have become more lucrative.

– Two birds, one stone –

Environmental pressure groups have campaigned to shut down Germany’s coal plants, and the opposition Greens party, deprived of its signature anti-nuclear crusade, has been at the forefront of the fight, backed by some research institutes………

November 23, 2014 Posted by | ENERGY, Germany | Leave a comment

An alliance of German activist groups wants to stop nuclear waste export to the USA

Protest-No!flag_germanyfrom Diet Simon,  13 Nov 14  An alliance of German environment activists plans to prevent the export of CASTOR containers with highly radioactive fuel pebbles to the USA from Jülich and Ahaus.

When the supervisory board of the Jülich research centre meets on 19 November to discuss what to do with the CASTORS there, activists will mount a protest outside.

The activists argue that several expertises show that the thought-about exports of highly radioactive materials to South Carolina would be illegal. They say government plans to produce legality by simply relabeling the commercially operated Jülich reactor an experimental one won’t work.

“The AVR reactor is without a doubt an output reactor and is listed that way by the Federal Agency for Radiation Protection. That brings it under the law changed last summer which bans the export of radioactive fuel elements and requires the safest possible storage in Germany,” suggests Rainer Moormann, who used to work in the power station and the research centre.

Peter Bastian of the SOFA Münster group emphasises the aspect of societal responsibility: “Though the operators of atomic facilities try to shirk their responsibility for highly radioactive waste, exporting the radiating problems abroad is no solution in our view. An out of sight, out of mind strategy that makes innocent third parties suffer is unacceptable for the disposal of our atomic waste.“

Kerstin Ciesla, of BUND, the German section of Friends of the Earth, demands that the coalition parties in the North-Rhine Westphalian state government, Social Democrats and Greens, keep to their coalition agreement. “That stipulates that the CASTORS, especially those stored in Jülich, will be transported only one more time, and that is to a final repository once a location has been found for one. We will not sit back and watch the coalition agreement being broken, we will try to stop this transport with all the means we can muster.”

The catchcry of the anti-nuclear movement, “Nothing in, nothing out!“ is the basic tenet of the new alliance, currently comprising 13 groups, with more likely to come on board.

At the end of September a tour through Germany with Tom Clements, a South Carolina environmental activist and politician, who heads the Savannah River Site Watch, kicked off the joint activism. The alliance plans to build on that success and decided on continuous cooperation.

The following organisations have joined the alliance:

November 15, 2014 Posted by | Germany, opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

Dismantling a highly polluted German nuclear reactor with a scandalous cover-up history

secret-agent-Smflag_germanyfrom Diet Simon, 15 Nov 14 Under strict secrecy work began on Tuesday 11 November 2014 on dismantling a radioactively highly polluted German nuclear reactor with a scandalous cover-up history. The “experimental” nuke at Jülichwas shut down in 1988, ten years after serious mishaps which included radioactively polluted water escaping into the ground water. The incident was kept secret, then played down.

The operating company says the deconstruction is not dangerous to the public but experts doubt that claim. The work was to be completed tomorrow, 13 November. Continue reading

November 15, 2014 Posted by | Germany, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Activists hold up uranium train in Hamburg 

protestflag_germanyAnti-nuclear activists stopped a trainload of  ”yellow cake” uranium in Hamburg harbour, Germany, for more than seven hours. The train is taking 15 containers of the ore from Kazakhstan to Malvési in southern France for processing, a frequent run.

While two activists suspended themselves over the railway track, eight were temporarily arrested on the ground. Whatever route the trains take – and the Railways always try to keep that secret – all of them run through densely settled parts of Germany.

Activists usually find out the train runs and are again being alerted to mount protest actions in their areas.

After the processing in southern France, the uranium comes back to Germany as uranium hexafluoride for enrichment in Gronau and later processing into nuclear fuel in Lingen.

“That has nothing to do with getting out of nuclear power,“ activists note, alluding to 2023 when all German nukes are slated to be closed down.

If you understand German, go to Robin Wood for updates.

The activists have demanded that Mayor Olaf Scholz, a Social Democrat, close Hamburg harbour to nuclear shipments, as the city of Bremen has done.

From 28-30. November an international meeting to oppose uranium transportation will be held in Münster, hosted by SOFA Münster.

November 12, 2014 Posted by | Germany, opposition to nuclear | 2 Comments

Germany to speed up the phase-out of coal, as well as of nuclear power

logo-Energiewendeflag_germanyGermany looks to fast-track exit from coal, as well as nuclear  By  on 5 November 2014 Germany is looking to achieve exactly what Australia says is not possible – and wean one of the world’s largest manufacturing economies off coal – as well as shutting down nuclear.

The conservative government of Chancellor Angela Merkel last week issued a discussion paper proposing to implement the strictest controls on coal fired generation yet to be seen in Europe, and to redesign its energy system around renewables, which will account for around two thirds of supply within two decades.

The discussion paper has been prompted by the need to deal with massive over-capacity in its energy system, and as Germany commits to phasing out the remainder of its nuclear generators by 2022 and sourcing nearly half of its electricity supply from renewables – hydro, biomass, wind and solar – within a decade.

The government discussion paper said too many fossil-fired power plants are in the system and overcapacities “have to be cut” to help meet climate targets. The response is in stark contrast to the situation in Australia, where the conservative government of Tony Abbott is using the argument of “overcapacity” to shut down the pipeline of new renewable energy projetcs, rather than forcing coal to exit the market. Continue reading

November 6, 2014 Posted by | Germany, politics | Leave a comment

German power companies discreetly trying to sell their holdings in URENCO

highly-recommendedflag_germanyTicking nuclear time bomb up for grabs URANTRANSPORT.De 3 Nov 14 As discretely as possible, the German power companies EON and RWE are trying to sell their holdings in URENCO, the tri-national company that produces weapons-grade uranium. The prominent German newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, reported that not only respectable potential buyers are lining up to bid and that intelligence services are on alert.

The German URENCO plant is located at Gronau, a small town only a stone’s throw away from the border with the Netherlands. And not far into that country is another URENCO plant at Almelo.

The newspaper incorrectly describes Gronau as “the last bastion of the nuclear industry in Germany”, which it is not. There is also a nuclear fuel plant at Lingen and centrifuge research and development in Jülich, run jointly by a Urenco/Areva subsidiary.

With a world market share of 31% the German-Dutch-British URENCO, which also operates plants in the UK and the USA, is one of the major suppliers of nuclear fuel. Almost unnoticed by the general public, URENCO keeps Germany a major player in nuclear power, which officially is planned to end in the country in 2023.

As the newspaper points out, “URENCO possesses highly sensitive knowledge: the key to the atom bomb“.  The one-third-each owners, which apart from the two power companies include the British and Dutch governments, want to sell the firm to investors.Ten billion euros is one figure being mentioned. Bids to be accepted until the end of December.

It’s a scary scenario: “Up for sale is the simplest path to the atom bomb,” suggests Michael Sailer of the Eco-Institute in Darmstadt, an advisor on nuclear matters to the German government.

Finance circles say the list of potential buyers includes firms and hedge funds around the world, in Canada, Japan, Britain, Hong Kong, India and the Middle East. There’s even talk of questionable billionaires and states.

Experts say in Gronau alone enough highly enriched uranium to make a bomb could be produced in a few weeks.

If the state owners give up their controlling majority, it will get ever harder to protect the technology against unpermitted access, notes Sailer. “I find it irresposnible to leave a technology with such destructive power to the market.“

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung says secret documents from the Netherlands make clear how far plans to sell up are advanced in London and The Hague.

German parliamentarians have been told by the government that intelligence services have been brought in to study potential buyers. The same is said to be happening in Britain and The Netherlands.

“Every transfer of knowledge of uranium enrichment technology also increases the knowledge of atomic weapon technology,“ warns Sylvia Kotting-Uhl of the German Greens, and calls on the German government to veto the sale.

“We demand the immediate closure of the Gronau uranium enrichment plant,“ writes a group of activists in Muenster, which is close to Gronau, as well as centrifuge research and development in Jülich, run jointly by a Urenco/Areva subsidiary, ETC.

The Aktionsbündnis Münsterland gegen Atomanlagen (SOFA) will host an international uranium transportation conference from 28-30. November in Münster.


November 6, 2014 Posted by | Germany, safety, Uranium, weapons and war | Leave a comment


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