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Downright absurd to classify a technology with the potential danger of nuclear power plants as green and sustainable.

I am very sure that not a single private company will ever build a nuclear power plant on its own account and at its own risk. The taxonomy does not change that. At best, it reduces the enormous government subsidies needed to push this technology into the market

“Nuclear is the opposite of what wind & solar need to partner with” – ex energy state sec Nuclear phase-outEnergiewende Clean Energy Wire, 11 Jan 22 Without the anti-nuclear movement, the energy transition in Germany would likely look different. But despite a strong focus on fighting nuclear power, the civil society movement that marked the rise of the Green Party has always had the climate in mind and wanted to ensure that reactors weren’t substituted with coal plants.

Clean Energy Wire spoke to Rainer Baake, director of the Climate Neutrality Foundation, former energy state secretary, and one of the architects of the original German nuclear phase-out in 2000. He says that with all democratic parties pledged to the exit timetable, it is “absolutely out of the question” that Germany returns to using this high-risk technology. With a decision to include nuclear as a sustainable investment, the EU Commission would discredit the taxonomy, he said. “However, this will not stop the energy transition in Germany.”

…………………………………….  The whole energy transition consists of replacing conventional power plants, nuclear as well as fossil power plants with renewables. And that’s what we started with simultaneously. When the nuclear phase-out was decided, the Renewable Energies Act was created. As a consequence of the Kyoto protocol, we decided on an emissions trading system in Europe. Nuclear energy will be history on 31 December 2022 and we will also completely phase out coal in this decade and replace both with renewables. The next step will be to exchange fossil natural gas against hydrogen.

…………………… Can nuclear power, as supplied by today’s nuclear power plants, make a meaningful contribution to an electricity system dominated by renewables? As base load or for other system services?

Is it a problem for the German energy transition if other (European) countries, also with the help of the new European taxonomy, invest in nuclear power instead of renewables?

The opposite is true. A climate-friendly electricity system dominated by weather-dependent production from wind and solar plants requires a great deal of flexibility to balance fluctuating supply with fluctuating demand. Nuclear power plants are technically and operationally designed to produce as consistently as possible. They are the exact opposite of what wind and solar need to partner with.

Is it a problem for the German energy transition if other (European) countries, also with the help of the new European taxonomy, invest in nuclear power instead of renewables?

I find it downright absurd to classify a technology with the potential danger of nuclear power plants as green and sustainable. And even more so because it produces radioactive waste that remains dangerous for the unimaginable period of a million years, and for which we have not yet found a safe solution. With this decision, the EU Commission discredits the taxonomy. However, this will not stop the energy transition in Germany.

I am very sure that not a single private company will ever build a nuclear power plant on its own account and at its own risk. The taxonomy does not change that. At best, it reduces the enormous government subsidies needed to push this technology into the market.

While innovations and learning curves over the past 20 years have ensured that renewable energies have become increasingly cheaper, the costs of nuclear energy have risen more and more. In this respect, it is no wonder that, according to IEA figures, 70 percent of global investment in the power sector now goes to renewable energies.

A  recent survey showed that a slight majority of Germans would agree to give nuclear power a role for climate protection reasons. Do you see the possibility that attitudes towards nuclear power could change again in Germany?

What survey? Since Chernobyl, all the polls I know of have shown clear majorities in favour of phasing out nuclear power. Take a look at the last federal election, all democratic parties are sticking to the timetable for the nuclear phase-out and support the expansion of renewable energies. The last three reactors will go offline at the end of this year. This will mark the end of the use of nuclear energy in Germany.

Is there any scenario next year in which Germany will let the existing nuclear power plants run longer after all, as some are calling for?

I consider such a scenario to be absolutely out of the question.

Do you see the new small-scale nuclear reactors as a chance for a renewed use of nuclear power in the fight against the climate crisis?

These reactors, which allegedly are completely safe and produce no nuclear waste, have one major disadvantage: they don’t exist.

The 400 nuclear power plants in existence worldwide today cover only about ten percent of the demand for electricity. If we wanted to replace global fossil power generation with small nuclear reactors, we would need many thousands of these power plants. Precisely because they are so small, they would have to operate with highly enriched uranium. The danger that nuclear fuel would be illegally diverted and used to build bombs is real. No one can want that, and hopefully the free world will not allow it.  https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/nuclear-opposite-what-wind-solar-need-partner-ex-energy-state-sec      

January 11, 2022 - Posted by | climate change, Germany

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