Berlin says utilities can’t dodge responsibility for nuclear waste http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/03/us-germany-energy-nuclear-waste-idUSKCN0PD18A20150703
German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Friday that if the provisions by utilities for shutting down nuclear power plants were not sufficient, the government needed to discuss asking the companies to make further payments.
Gabriel also said that Berlin wanted to rule out quickly by law the possibility for utilities to reduce their financial liability regarding the de-nuclearization of the country.
Germany’s four nuclear operators — E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall — have set aside around 36 billion euros ($39.99 billion) in provisions for shutting down nuclear power plants and building a safe disposal site for highly radioactive waste.
(Reporting by Gernot Heller; Writing by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Michelle Martin)
Germany’s Energy Revolution goes from strength to strength as the Grafenrheinfeld nuclear reactor closes http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/nuclear-reaction/grafenrheinfeld-nuclear-reactor-closure/blog/53355/
One less nuclear reactor threat to the people of Europe with the early closure of the Grafenrheinfeld nuclear reactor. Germany’s 33 year-old Grafenrheinfeld nuclear reactor will be shut down permanently on June 27th as the country’s phase out of nuclear power continues. It’s the first reactor to close since Germany passed its Atomic Energy Act in July 2011 which requires the closure of all commercial nuclear reactors by the end of 2022.
The reactor is being shutdown seven months early as the disastrous economics of nuclear power and Germany’s drive for clean and sustainable energy have made it impossible for its owner E.ON to operate the reactor and make a profit.
E.ON and other large nuclear utilities only have themselves to blame. They failed to anticipate the growth of renewable energy and so they failed to invest in it. At the same time, electricity prices have fallen making their nuclear power plants even less profitable.
That said, even E.ON is waking up to the new energy future of Germany. “The transformation of Europe’s energy system continues to offer us attractive growth opportunities in renewables and distributed energy,” said the company in a report from March this year.
But what are the implications of the closure of Grafenrheinfeld? Won’t it leave an energy gap?
In short: no. Continue reading
‘Green superpower’ Germany plots the way to a low-carbon world by closing Grafenrheinfeld nuclear power plant, SMH, June 20, 2015 Peter Hannam Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald
Leaving nuclear is not without its critics, especially among big utilities: Sweden’s Vattenfall is reportedly suing the German government for €4.7 billion ($6.9 billion) to compensate for its losses.
And yet, German policymakers seem determined to stick to an ambitious – and unilateral – goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent on 1990 levels, even if that means shutting near zero-carbon nuclear plants along the way. The cuts deepen to 55 per cent by 2030 and 80-95 per cent by 2050.
The country is also betting big that renewable energy mainly from wind, solar and hydro power will continue to surge beyond its current share of about 28 per cent of total supply…….
The dramatic plunge in renewable energy prices – with solar panels becoming about 20 per cent cheaper for every doubling of output – has undermined whatever business case existed for nuclear energy, Kraemer says.
“Solar is competitive with new coal and new nuclear [power plants], and even with old coal if you price the carbon emissions properly,” Kraemer says. [Andreas Kraemer, founder and director emeritus of the Ecologic Institute, a Berlin-based think tank.]
Germans freely admit that overly generous feed-in tariffs paid to those supplying renewable energy to the grid meant the country paid billions of euros too much to install solar panels on the roofs of some 3.5 million homes and small businesses in a country not known for its bounteous sunshine. Sunshine hours in Berlin, a relatively northern city, peak at an average of eight hours a day in May-July, but drop to just one hour by December, according to a local tourist guide.
The levy now costs users 6.17 euro cents (9¢) per kilowatt-hour, boosting residents’ costs for power to about 26 euro cents/KW-hour. [By contrast, this correspondent pays about 31¢ in Sydney for 100 per cent renewable power.]
The subsidies underpin Germany’s Energiewende, or energy transition, a policy which is gaining international attention. The word is apparently the most commonly searched-for German word, eclipsing angst and blitzkrieg, according to one local supporter.
Renewable energy’s share of the country’s total electricity supply has almost quadrupled. Nuclear’s share has roughly halved over the same period from 27 per cent to about 14 per cent………http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/green-superpower-germany-plots-the-way-to-a-lowcarbon-world-by-closing-grafenrheinfeld-nuclear-power-plant-20150619-ghpbcf.html
German nuclear fuel duty is legal, says European court, World Nuclear News 05 June 2015 Germany’s tax on nuclear fuel conforms to European Union laws, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled yesterday.
Since January 2011, each gram of fissile nuclear fuel loaded into a German reactor has carried a levy of €145 ($161). The tax is expected to bring in about €2.3 billion ($2.6 billion) in revenues annually.
That tax was imposed by the state as a consequence of an amendment to the 2002 Atomic Energy Act that allowed longer operating lives for German reactors. However, the government adhered to the new tax even though, in reaction to the 2011 Fukushima accident in Japan, it took away the longer lives and forced the early closure of older units. Power companies were quick to take the matter to court……..
The ECJ has now ruled that the duty on nuclear fuel is indeed compatible with EU law. It said, “By today’s judgement, the Court of Justice replies that EU law does not preclude a duty such as the German duty on nuclear fuel.”
The court rejected a claim that nuclear fuel must be exempt from taxation under the European directive on taxation of energy products and electricity. This directive exempts energy products subject to harmonized excise duty and used to produce electricity. The court noted that nuclear fuel is not included in the list of fuels set out in that directive. “In essence, the court rejects the idea that a duty cannot be levied at the same time on the consumption of electricity and on the sources from which it is produced which are not energy products within the meaning of the directive,” the ECJ said in a statement.
The ECJ also determined that the EU directive concerning the general arrangements for excise duty does not preclude the German duty on nuclear fuel. It said Germany’s tax is levied on a fuel for electricity production and not levied on the consumption of the electricity produced. It therefore does not constitute excise duty or ‘other indirect taxes’ on that product within the meaning of the directive, the court ruled.
Germany’s tax on nuclear fuel does not also constitute state aid, the court said…….http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP-German-nuclear-fuel-duty-is-legal-says-European-court-0506155.html
we still occasionally see rubbish published around the place that there are all these coal fired power plants about to begin operation in Germany. The Carbon Tracker report points out that since 2008 there were more than 100 new coal plants announced that have not been built. Once you take into account closures, not just openings, since 2000 there has been a new reduction of 19 gigawatts of coal capacity.
The reality that blogosphere and the conservative press don’t seem to have caught up with is that with wholesale power prices stuck at low levels, construction of a new coal fired power station is a licence to haemorrhage money.
The circumstances surrounding this European utility decline look eerily familiar to the situation here in Australia. Electricity demand has stagnated, while solar PV in particular has taken off.
Could this be AGL and EnergyAustralia’s horrible fate?, Climate Spectator TRISTAN EDIS 5 JUN, “……………….A report released by the Carbon Tracker Initiative has collated a huge array of data which provides a striking summary of how Europe’s conventional power utilities have been thrown into financial turmoil since 2008 due to being squeezed at one end by improved energy productivity and at the other end by growing use of renewable energy.
As the chart below [in original article] illustrates the stock market value of the EU’s largest 5 power generators has plunged by over 100 billion euros (or 37% of their value) between 2008 to 2013. The other big utility in the chart below that has beaten the trend has been Enel which moved into renewables….
This hasn’t been simply a function of a broader economic downturn in Europe. By contrast with the plunge in these utilities’ stock value Germany’s stock market increased 18% over the same period with a major divergence emerging in performance…..
at the same time as electricity demand was stagnating, renewable energy was being pushed into the system driven by governments’ responding to public concern about climate change and a future industrial opportunity. The chart below [in original article] illustrates that while power demand has stagnated, renewables gained 10% market share from nuclear and fossil fuel generators……… Continue reading
Zero German coal plants as a reaction to Fukushima, Energy Transition, [excellent diagrams] 27 May 2015 by Craig Morris Reading headlines like “Germany’s nuclear cutback is darkening European skies” makes Craig Morris despair over the state of journalism……
..there has been no surge in coal power during the nuclear phase-out. In fact, total coal power production (both lignite and hard coal) fell by six percent last year alone. ……….
We are left with no coal plants in the pipeline as a reaction to Fukushima accident and Germany’s nuclear phase-out. Nor has there been a boom in new coal plants and coal electricity generation in Germany since the Fukushima accident. All of this information is publicly available,……Craig Morris (@PPchef) is the lead author of German Energy Transition. He directs Petite Planète and writes every workday for Renewables International. http://energytransition.de/2015/05/zero-german-coal-plants-reaction-to-fukushima/
Nazi Human Experimentation NMR’s Blog 29 May 2015 Nazi human experimentation was medical experimentation on large numbers of people by the German Nazi regime in its concentration camps during World War II. At Auschwitz, under the direction of Dr. Eduard Wirths, selected inmates were subjected to various experiments which were supposedly designed to help German military personnel in combat situations, to aid in the recovery of military personnel that had been injured, and to advance the racial ideology backed by the Third Reich.After the war, these crimes were tried at what became known as the Doctors’ Trial, and revulsion at the abuses perpetrated led to the development of the Nuremberg Code of medical ethics…………..
German utilities have ‘set aside too little’ for nuclear exit http://www.rechargenews.com/wind/1401381/german-utilities-have-set-aside-too-little-for-nuclear-exit Andrew Lee May 28 2015 Provisions set aside by German utilities for nuclear decommissioning aren’t sufficient and should be transferred into a public fund for safe keeping, says a study by the respected DIW Berlin economic think-tank.
Germany’s top four utilities E.ON, RWE, EnBW, Vattenfall have set aside €38bn ($41.4bn) to pay for the decommissioning of the country’s remaining nuclear power stations and the final storage of highly radioactive waste.But preliminary estimates assume the costs for the nuclear decommissioning and waste storage to cost at least €50-70bn, the DIW says.
Also, the provisions aren’t protected from insolvencies, and the utilities could also try to escape their responsibility by restructuring their businesses, claim the authors of the DIW study – energy experts Claudia Kemfert, Christian von Hirschhausen and Cornelia Ziehm.
It is also questionable what value the provisions will have in a couple of years given the declining profitability of large utilities.”Seen these great risks, the provisions of the nuclear corporations should be transferred into a publicly administered fund as soon as possible,” von Hirschhausen proposes.
German utilities have always said their provisions for the nuclear exit are sufficient. But Germany’s largest utility, E.ON, late last year announced its split into a company for renewables, grids and customer solutions that will keep its current brand name, and another one to be named Uniper that will bundle its current nuclear and fossil activities.
Although debt-free at its onset next year, there are doubts whether Uniper can stay profitable over the long run, while the remaining E.ON may be exempt from the nuclear responsibility.
The DIW study also said that Germany’s electricity supply will be safe also after the last nuclear plant has been switched off in 2022 as the country currently is producing far more power than it needs, a situation that isn’t expected to change even with the nuclear phase-out.
E.ON will switch off its 1.3GW Grafenrheinfeld nuclear power plant in Bavaria state in the second half of next month. The 10 terawatt hours it produces per year can be compensated by coal and gas-fired energy, the DIW says. Separately, Vattenfall and E.ON today said they have closed a cooperation agreement for the decommissioning and dismantling process of joint nuclear plants.
Germany, the Green Superpower Thomas L. Friedman, NYT MAY 6, 2015 BERLIN — A week at the American Academy in Berlin leaves me with two contradictory feelings: one is that Germany today deserves a Nobel Peace Prize, and the other is that Germany tomorrow will have to overcome its deeply ingrained post-World War II pacifism and become a more serious, activist global power. And I say both as a compliment.
On the first point, what the Germans have done in converting almost 30 percent of their electric grid to solar and wind energy from near zero in about 15 years has been a great contribution to the stability of our planet and its climate. The centerpiece of the German Energiewende, or energy transformation, was an extremely generous “feed-in tariff” that made it a no-brainer for Germans to install solar power (or wind) at home and receive a predictable high price for the energy generated off their own rooftops.
There is no denying that the early days of the feed-in tariff were expensive. The subsidies cost billions of euros, paid for through a surcharge on everyone’s electric bill. But the goal was not simply to buy more renewable energy: It was to create demand that would drive down the cost of solar and wind to make them mainstream, affordable options. And, in that, the energiewende has been an undiluted success. With price drops of more than 80 percent for solar, and 55 percent for wind, zero-carbon energy is now competitive with fossil fuels here.
In my view the greatest success of the German energy transition was giving a boost to the Chinese solar panel industry,” said Ralf Fücks, the president of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, the German Green Party’s political foundation. “We created the mass market, and that led to the increased productivity and dramatic decrease in cost.” And all this in a country whose northern tip is the same latitude as the southern tip of Alaska!
This is a world-saving achievement. And, happily, as the price fell, the subsidies for new installations also dropped. The Germans who installed solar ended up making money, which is why the program remains popular, except in coal-producing regions. Today, more than 1.4 million German households and cooperatives are generating their own solar/wind electricity. “There are now a thousand energy cooperatives operated by private people,” said the energy economist Claudia Kemfert. Continue reading
Costs for Germany’s nuclear exit could rise to $75 billion http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/20/us-germany-utilities-nuclear-exit-idUSKBN0NB18S20150420 BERLIN Reuters) – The bill for shutting down Germany’s nuclear power plants and building a safe disposal site for nuclear waste could rise to 70 billion euros ($75 billion), the head of a government commission told daily Frankfurter Rundschau in an interview
E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall [VATN.UL] are due to switch off their nuclear plants by a 2022 deadline set by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government after the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011.
A decision by E.ON to restructure its business and spin off its conventional power plants raised additional fears that taxpayers may end up footing a portion of the bill for dismantling the nuclear plants and storing waste.
“There are significant financial risks coming up for the state,” said Michael Mueller, head of the government’s task force charged with finding a disposal site for nuclear waste.
The costs for the nuclear exit could rise to up to 70 billion euros over the next decades, meaning that the 36 billion euros ($38 billion) in provisions set aside by the four nuclear operators were not sufficient, he added.
Spokesmen from E.ON and EnBW said in separate statements that the companies’ provisions were sufficient and that they were certified on a regular basis by external auditors. conomy Minister Sigmar Gabriel has told lawmakers from his center-left Social Democrat (SPD) party that he wants to look into creating a public body to oversee the multibillion-euro risks associated with the nuclear switch-off.
The government is sounding out the option of subjecting the balance sheets of the four nuclear power plant operators to a stress test to ensure their provisions are adequate.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber, Markus Wacket, Vera Eckert and Chris Steitz, editing by William Hardy)
West Germany ‘secretly funded Israel’s nuclear bomb’, despite Israel denials, Telegraph UK
Former chancellor Konrad Adenauer has long been accused of secretly channelling hundreds of millions of dollars into Israel’s nuclear programme in the 1960s By Justin Huggler, Berlin 14 Apr 2015
Welt newspaper repeated long-standing allegations that the government of former chancellor Konrad Adenauer secretly channelled hundreds of millions of dollars into Israel’s nuclear programme in the 1960s.
The newspaper insisted the claims were true, despite a categorical denial earlier this month from Shimon Peres, the former Israeli president, who was in charge of the nuclear weapons project at the time.
In a detailed report, Welt claimed the funds were disguised as a $500 million (£338 million) loan for the development of the Negev desert.
The arrangement was agreed at a meeting between Mr Adenauer and David Ben-Gurion, the Israeli prime minister, in New York in 1960, the newspaper claimed.
The agreement was informal and was never scrutinised by the West German cabinet or parliament.
It was known as “Aktion Geschäftsfreund”, or “Operation Business Associate” by the West German foreign ministry.
The funds were channelled to Israel through the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, a government-owned development bank.
The bank has declined to release details of its payments to Israel under the programme………
Explicit details and photographs of its weapons project were leaked by Mordechai Vanunu, a former nuclear technician, in 1986.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/11535629/West-Germany-secretly-funded-Israels-nuclear-bomb-despite-Israel-denials.html
Nuclear plant closure money insufficient – German gov’t report http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/20/germany-utilities-nadal-idUSB4N0VR00V20150320
BERLIN, March 20 Fri Mar 20, 2015 (Reuters) – A report commissioned by the German government believes nuclear power firms have not set aside enough money to cover the long-term costs of decommissioning plants, according to a copy of the report seen by Reuters on Friday.
The report from the law firm Becker Buettner Held said the 36 billion euros already set aside by Germany’s four nuclear operators E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Sweden’s Vattenfall was insufficient and meant the costs could fall on the public purse.
The report added the government should consider legal measures which would force the parent companies of nuclear power plant operators to assume liability in the case ofbankruptcy. (Reporting by Markus Wacket; Writing by Caroline Copley; Editing by Stephen Brown)
By Diet Simon, 17 Mar 15 About 12,000 anti-nuclear activists demonstrated in recent days in more than 200 German towns in commemoration of the Fukushima catastrophe four years ago and against the current nuclear situation in Germany.
There were pickets, and rallies in Neckarwestheim, Düsseldorf, Berlin und Dannenberg. The demos focused on the aging nuclear power station in Germany, waste issues and the evil methods energy companies are employing to dodge their responsibilities.
Obviously not as many people took to the streets as immediately following the Fukushima catastrophe, so the more than 200 events were all the more noteworthy. Countless local newspapers reported on them. It was a successful reminder of the nuclear dangers, pulling the issue back into public focus.
Tenacity is a special strength of the German anti-nuclear movement.
Staring Thursday this week (19 March) many selected German cinemas will show an antinuclear film, „Die Reise zum sichersten Ort der Erde“ (The journey to the safest place on earth) dealing with the unsolved problem of disposing nuclear waste.
Many activists have talked to their local cinemas to run it so as to reach the biggest possible public (schedule of showings). Most found that it needed just a phone call or a face-to-face conversation to persuade cinema operators to show it.
As part of special screenings experts discuss with audiences about the film and its pressing question, where to with our life-threatening waste.
The film will also screen at the Environmental Filmfestival in Washington DC, from 17 to 29 March.
Some media comment: “A film about insanity” (Grit Lemke, DOK Leipzig); “Unideological and with unshakeable belief in a public who can think for themselves” (Saiten Ostschweizer Kulturmagazin); “A magnificent documentary film” (Susan Boos, Die Wochenzeitung); “Most watchable” (Susanna Petrin, Aargauer Zeitung); “Excellent documentation” (Blick);
“Looking away is forbidden” (Hans Nüsseler, Swiss television).
The film’s website: http://www.diereisezumsicherstenortdererde.ch/de/
VIDEO: German protesters call for end to nuclear power as they remember Fukushima http://www.euronews.com/2015/03/08/german-protesters-call-for-end-to-nuclear-power-as-they-remember-fukushima/Thousands of demonstrators have called for an end to nuclear energy during a rally in Neckarwestheim, in southern Germany.
They gathered in the town, home to a nuclear plant, to remember Japan’s Fukushima disaster four years ago.
Protesters chanted “switch off,” while holding banners reading “Fukushima out of control” and carrying mock coffins.
An earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi plant, 220 kilometres northeast of Tokyo, in March 2011. It sparked nuclear meltdowns, forcing more than 160-thousand residents to flee from nearby towns and contaminating water, food and air.
Merkel to discuss Germany’s nuclear exit, cooperation on renewable energy during Japan trip, Fox Business, March 07, 2015 BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she plans to use her upcoming trip to Japan to discuss how Berlin and Tokyo can cooperate to expand the use of renewable energy.
Merkel will visit Japan on Monday and Tuesday as part of a series of bilateral meetings with G-7 leaders ahead of a June summit in Germany.
Germany sped up its exit from nuclear energy after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011.
Merkel said in a weekly online address Saturday that Germany was “now strongly emphasizing renewable energy. And I believe Japan should go down this road too — and it is.”….http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2015/03/07/merkel-to-discuss-germany-nuclear-exit-cooperation-on-renewable-energy-during/
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