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Germany shows how it can lead the world in neatly shutting down nuclear power

Spectacular Video Shows Nuclear Power Plant Demolition in Germany

How to demolish a nuclear power plant without blowing it up, By Sheena McKenzie, CNN August 16, 2019 London (CNN Business)This is how you demolish a nuclear power plant German-style. No big red button. No dramatic countdown. No “kaboom!”

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August 17, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, Germany | Leave a comment

Tower of German nuclear station demolished. The plant was on line for only 13 months

Short-lived German nuclear plant’s cooling tower demolished  https://www.citynews1130.com/2019/08/09/short-lived-german-nuclear-plants-cooling-tower-demolished/, BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, Aug 9, 2019 

BERLIN — The cooling tower of a former nuclear power plant next to the Rhine River in Germany that was online for just 13 months has been demolished, 31 years after it stopped producing electricity.

Remote-controlled excavators on Friday removed pillars that supported the tower at the Muelheim-Kaerlich plant, near Koblenz. The tower, whose top half had already been removed by a specially designed robot, collapsed under its own weight in a cloud of dust a couple of hours later.

Muelheim-Kaerlich was switched off in September 1988 after 13 months in service when a federal court ruled the risk of earthquakes in the area hadn’t been taken into account sufficiently. After a lengthy legal battle, demolition started in 2004. Operator RWE says nearly all radioactive material had already been removed by then.

August 10, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, Germany | Leave a comment

Germany’s Grohnde nuclear plant headed for shutdown, due to high temperatures

Nuclear power plant in Germany at verge of getting switched off due to heat wave – Nuclear phase-out, 26 Jul 2019, Benjamin Wehrmann  https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/nuclear-power-plant-germany-verge-getting-switched-due-heat-wave

Clean Energy Wire / NDR / Bloomberg  

A nuclear power plant in northern Germany has come to the verge of being taken off the grid on Friday, a Lower Saxony state environment ministry spokesperson told Clean Energy Wire. The ministry on Thursday had said the Grohnde nuclear plant near Hannover would likely be taken offline, as high temperatures were excessively warming a river used for the plant’s cooling system, and should be started up again once the heat wave that has hit Germany and other European countries with unprecedented temperatures has abated. On Friday, the plant’s operator, Preussen Elektra had informed the ministry that water temperatures were not rising as quickly as expected. However, precautions for a possible shutdown were taken nonetheless, the operator said. The river Weser, into which the plant’s cooling water is discharged, is suffering low water levels and has warmed to above 26 degrees Celsius. Additional heat from the nuclear reactor could damage the river’s ecosystem, the ministry said.

According to preliminary figures from meteorological service DWD, 25 June set another temperature record for Germany. Lingen in Lower Saxony recorded a high of 42.6 degrees, breaking the previous day’s all-time German high of 40.5 degrees.

July 27, 2019 Posted by | climate change, Germany | Leave a comment

Renewable energy providing more electricity than coal and nuclear power combined in Germany

Renewable energy providing more electricity than coal and nuclear power combined in Germany Independent  Solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric power generates nearly half of country’s output.   Emma Snaith, 25 Jul 19, 

Renewable sources of energy produced more electricity than coal and nuclear power combined for the first time in Germany, according to new figures.

Solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric power generation accounted for 47.3 per cent of the country’s electricity production in the first six months of 2019, while 43.4 per cent came from coal-fired and nuclearpower plants.

Around 15 per cent less carbon dioxide was produced than in the same period last year, according to figures published by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in July.

However, some scientists have attributed the high renewable power output to favourable weather patterns and “market-driven events”.

Fabian Hein, from the think tank Agora Energiewende, told Deutsche Welle the 20 per cent increase in wind production was the result of particularly windy conditions in 2019……..

Renewables accounted for 40 per cent of Germany’s electricity consumption in 2018, according to government figures.

While in the UK, 29 per cent of electricity was sourced from renewables last year.

Germany is aiming to phase out its nuclear power plants by 2022. Its renewable energy has been rising steadily over the last two decades thanks in part to the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), which was reformed last year to cut costs for consumers.

But Germany still relies heavily on coal, gas and lignite for its energy needs.

Germany’s reluctance to end its dependence on coal saw hundreds of climate activists storm one of the country’s biggest open-pit coal mines in June to protest against fossil fuel use.

..electricity production from solar panels rose by six per cent, natural gas by 10 per cent, while the share of nuclear power in the country’s electricity production has remained virtually unchanged.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/renewable-energy-germany-electricity-coal-nuclear-power-a9017821.html

 

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

ACTIVISTS WALK “CEASE AND DESIST” ORDER INTO NUCLEAR WEAPONS BASE

ACTIVISTS WALK “CEASE AND DESIST” ORDER INTO NUCLEAR WEAPONS BASE  https://riseuptimes.org/2019/07/22/activists-walk-cease-and-desist-order-into-nuclear-weapons-base/ July 22, 2019 · by Rise Up Times 

BÜCHEL, Germany — Eleven international peace activists entered the Büchel Air Base southwest of Frankfurt early this morning to deliver what they called a “Treaty Enforcement Order” declaring that the sharing of US nuclear weapons at the base is a “criminal conspiracy to commit war crimes.”

Upon entering the base’s main gate with a printed “cease and desist order,” they insisted on seeing the base commander to deliver the order in person.

“We refuse to be complicit in this crime,” said Brian Terrell of Voices for Creative Nonviolence in Chicago, Illinois. “We call for the nuclear bombs to be returned to the US immediately. The Germans want these nuclear weapons out of Germany, and so do we.”

The group included people from Germany, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. All eleven were detained by military and civilian authorities and were released after providing identification. This is the third year in a row that a delegation of US peace activists has joined Europeans and others in protesting the US nuclear weapons at Büchel. The local group Nonviolent Action for Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (GAAA) convenes the International Action Week, demanding permanent ouster of the US nuclear weapons, cancellation of plans to replace today’s B61s with new hydrogen bombs, and Germany’s ratification of the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

“Delivery of the ‘Cease and Desist Order’ is an act of crime prevention,” said John LaForge, of the US peace group Nukewatch and coordinator of the US delegation. “The authorities think the entry is a matter of trespass. But these nuclear bomb threats violate the UN Charter, the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.” he said, adding, “Interrupting government criminality is a duty of responsible citizenship.”The activists included: (from the United States) Susan Crane, Richard Bishop, Andrew Lanier, Jr., Brian Terrell, Ralph Hutchison, and Dennis DuVall; (from the UK) Richard Barnard; (from The Netherlands) Margriet Bos, and Susan van der Hijden; and (from Germany) Dietrich Gerstner, and Birke Kleinwächter.

Susan van der Hijden of Amsterdam, who is just back from the US where she visited the Kansas City, Kansas site of a factory working on parts of the new replacement bomb, known as the B61-12. “The planning and training to use the US H-bombs that goes on at Büchel cannot be legal, because organizing mass destruction has been a criminal act since the Nuremberg Trials after WWII,” van der Hijden said.

July 23, 2019 Posted by | Germany, opposition to nuclear, weapons and war | Leave a comment

In 2019, in Germany, renewables are providing more electricity than are coal and nuclear

German renewables deliver more electricity than coal and nuclear power for the first time, DW,17July19

In Germany, sun, wind, water and biomass have so far produced more electricity in 2019 than coal and nuclear power combined. But it’s a snapshot of a special market situation and might not be a long-term trend.

In Lippendorf, Saxony, the energy supplier EnBW is temporarily taking part of a coal-fired power plant offline. Not because someone ordered it — it simply wasn’t paying off. Gas prices are low, CO2 prices are high, and with many hours of sunshine and wind, renewable methods are producing a great deal of electricity. And in the first half of the year there was plenty of sun and wind.

The result was a six-month period in which renewable energy sources produced more electricity than coal and nuclear power plants together. For the first time 47.3% of the electricity consumers used came from renewable sources, while 43.4% came from coal-fired and nuclear power plants.

In addition to solar and wind power, renewable sources also include hydropower and biomass. Gas supplied 9.3% while the remaining 0.4% came from other sources, such as oil, according to figures published by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in July.

A vision of the future

Fabian Hein from the think tank Agora Energiewende stresses that the situation is only a snapshot in time. For example, the first half of 2019 was particularly windy and wind power production rose by around 20% compared to the first half of 2018.

Electricity production from solar panels rose by 6%, natural gas by 10%, while the share of nuclear power in German electricity consumption has remained virtually unchanged.

Coal, on the other hand, declined. Black coal energy production fell by 30% compared to the first half of 2018, lignite fell by 20%. Some coal-fired power plants were even taken off the grid. It is difficult to say whether this was an effect of the current market situation or whether this is simply part of long-term planning, says Hein………

The increase in wind and solar power and the decline in nuclear power have also reduced CO2 emissions. In the first half of 2019, electricity generation emitted around 15% less CO2 than in the same period last year, reported BDEW. However, the association demands that the further expansion of renewable energies should not be hampered. The target of 65% renewable energy can only be achieved if the further expansion of renewable energy sources is accelerated. https://www.dw.com/en/german-renewables-deliver-more-electricity-than-coal-and-nuclear-power-for-the-first-time/a-49606644-0

July 18, 2019 Posted by | Germany, renewable | 1 Comment

German climate activists storm open cut coal mine

 BBC 23rd June 2019 Hundreds of climate change activists have stormed an open cast coal mine in
western Germany to campaign against fossil fuels. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-48734321

June 24, 2019 Posted by | climate change, Germany | Leave a comment

Germany’s energy plant operators as well as government are clear that nuclear station lifetimes will not be extended

June 6, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Germany, politics | Leave a comment

Germany launches public meetings, in search of nuclear waste repository solution

Public info event kicks off search for nuclear waste repository  https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/public-info-event-kicks-search-nuclear-waste-repository

Nuclear phase-out, Clean Energy Wire , 24 Apr 19  The next stage of the search for a final repository for Germany’s nuclear waste is launched today with a series of public information events in major German cities, the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (BfE) says. Following protests, exploration of a site in Gorleben was terminated, and a multi-stakeholder commission proposed a new search starting with a “blank map” and aiming to find a suitable site by 2031. The procedure was approved as law by parliament in 2017. The new rules prioritise citizens’ participation and transparent research processes. Researchers from the Federal Company for Radioactive Waste Disposal (BGE) are currently analysing geological data from all German states.
Germany will have to store around 28,100 cubic metres of high-level radioactive waste by 2080, for up to several million years. The search will focus on possible storage sites in rock salt, clay rock and crystalline granite, but experience at sites like Gorleben has shown that no community is particularly keen on living next to nuclear waste storage.

April 25, 2019 Posted by | Germany, wastes | Leave a comment

Germany’s huge task in dismantling its nuclear power stations

Germany’s atomic phase-out: How to dismantle a nuclear power plant https://www.dw.com/en/germanys-atomic-phase-out-how-to-dismantle-a-nuclear-power-plant/a-4782376611 Mar 19, Germany now has just seven nuclear plants left in operation, but what becomes of those that are already decommissioned? Bits of them are recycled, and could ultimately end up in our kitchens.

When Egbert Bialk looks at the giant demolition robot perched on top of the cooling tower at the Mülheim-Kärlich nuclear power plant, it makes him happy.

“Happy that the eyesore is finally being dismantled,” he told DW. “Some said we should leave it standing as a memorial or piece of art. But for me the tower is like a symbol of humanity’s arrogance, of us playing with fire.”

Bialk began campaigning against the reactor when it was built near his home in the 1970s, and has since joined the local chapter of environmental group BUND to observe the 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) decommissioning of the facility.

The dismantling of the western German plant, which will take two decades to complete, started in 2004, seven years before the Fukushima disaster that prompted Angela Merkel’s government to announce the nation’s complete withdrawal from nuclear power by 2022.

With just a couple of years to go before that deadline, seven plants  are still in operation, and even after they’ve shut down for good, it will take many more years before all the country’s reactors have been safely dismantled, and contaminated sites cleared and deemed free of radiation

One of the most pressing questions during this lengthy process, is what to do with the radioactive waste?

Buried in mines

The first things to be removed are the heavily contaminated spent fuel rods, which contain the nuclear fuel that is converted into electrical power.

Because Germany doesn’t yet have a long-term depository for highly radioactive waste, the rods are currently stored in so-called Castor containers in several locations across the country.

By the time all the nation’s reactors have been decomissioned, there will be around 1,900 such containers in interim storage. And there they will remain until a suitable location for their permanent resting place has been found

Read more: Nuclear waste in disused German mine leaves a bitter legacy

“We expect the storage phase to take 50 years,” Monika Hotopp, spokeswoman of BGE told DW.

Exactly what it will all cost, is unknown. Much depends on the ultimate location, but the 4.2 billion euro preparations of a former iron ore mine known as pit Konrad to be used as the final depository for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste could serve as some kind of indicator.

Once things like technical equipment and parts of buildings exposed to nuclear fission reaction for years, have been buried in the mine, it will be filled up with concrete and sealed.

“When sealed, it’s safe and there should be no danger of nuclear radiation for the environment,” Hotopp told DW.

Environmental groups however, warn that nuclear waste remains a threat even when buried deep under the ground.

“The depositories have to be able to contain radiation for up to 500,000 years,” local environmentalist Bialk told DW. “We are giving a time bomb to future generations.”

Building materials recycled into roads and pots

And what happens to the rest of the waste? The hundred of thousands of tons of metal, concrete, pipes and other building materials that accumulate during the dismantling process?

Because under German law, the entire plant, including offices and the canteen, are considered radioactive, no single item can be removed before operators can prove it is no longer contaminated. Once considered free of radiation or at least to be below the safety limit, the waste can be disposed of at regular landfills and recycling sites.

Environmental groups and locals criticize this practice, on the grounds that once materials have been recycled, nobody knows where they end up. Concrete from nuclear power plants could be used to pave our roads, while metals could be melted and turned into pots and pans.

“Melted metals could even be turned into braces for kids; they could be contaminated by radiation and no one would know,” he told DW. “I think it would be useful to track where the materials from nuclear sites end up.”

But experts don’t regard post-decommissioning monitoring as necessary.

“The risks are minimal,” Christian Küppers, who specializes in nuclear facility safety at the environmental research center Oeko-Institut, told DW. “The safety limits for radiation correspond to what we are naturally exposed to in the environment,”

All the material from nuclear power plants that expose radiation below 0.01 millisieverts per year can be recycled, Küppers continued.

By way of comparison, the Oeko- Institut says people are exposed to natural radiation of 2.1 millisieverts per year in Germany, and a one-way transatlantic flight exposes those on board to between 0.04 and 0.11 millisieverts of radiation.

From nuclear site to “greenfield”

Once the nuclear power plants have been completely dismantled, all the waste removed and when there is no longer any measurable trace of radiation, the premises can be returned to greenfield status.

At this point, the premises are considered to be regular industrial sites, and can be sold as such.

Likewise pit Konrad. Once the mine has been closed and sealed, which is expected to happens around the year 2100, the land on top of it will also be returned to greenfield space. Theoretically, houses could then be built on it.

Whether anybody would want to live there, is another question, says Monika Hotopp from BGE, the federal company in charge of the long-term storage sites.

Because ultimately, nuclear power has become synonymous with danger. And as Bialk puts it, even when all the  plants have been dismantled and the waste stored, the problem won’t have gone away.

“First, the radioactive waste remains dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years. Second, other countries still rely on nuclear power,” he said. “There are more than 50 nuclear power plants in France alone, and if an accident were to happen there, it would affect us, too.”

March 12, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, Germany | Leave a comment

Germany phasing out coal, but will not import nuclear power as replacement

Do not want imported nuclear power to make up for coal phase-out: German minister, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/do-not-want-imported-nuclear-power-to-make-up-for-coal-phase-out-german-minister-140816Germany‘s Economy Minister Peter Altmaier on Jan. 28 said that he did not want Germanyto compensate for a planned phase out of coal-fired power by 2038 by importing nuclearpower from neighboring countries.

“We want energy security to be provided at all times,” the minister told broadcaster ZDF, but added: “We do not want to import cheap nuclear power from other countries.”

Germany‘s coal commission on Jan. 26 said the country should shut down all of its coal-fired power plants by 2038 at the latest, proposing at least 40 billion euros ($45.7 billion) in aid to regions affected by the phase-out.

January 29, 2019 Posted by | climate change, Germany | Leave a comment

Germany urges Russia to destroy missile to save nuclear treaty

  http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/germany-urges-russia-to-destroy-missile-to-save-nuclear-treaty/article/541215 German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Friday called on Russia to destroy a controversial missile system Washington says breaches a key arms control treaty.

“We believe Russia can save this treaty,” Maas said after talks with Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov, referring to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF).

“It affects our security interests in a fundamental way.”

Tensions have raged between Russia and the United States over the fate of the INF agreement signed in 1987 by then US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

US President Donald Trump has promised to walk away from the agreement and Russian leader Vladimir Putin threatened a new arms race, saying Europe would be its main victim.

Washington says Moscow’s 9M729 missile system violates the treaty and warned it would withdraw from the agreement if Russia does not get rid of it.

Russia denies the claim, accusing the United States of violating the treaty which forbids ground-launched short- and intermediate-range missiles.

“Like other NATO members, we believe that there is a missile violating this treaty and it should be destroyed in a verifiable manner to get back to the implementation of this agreement,” Germany’s Maas told reporters.

Maas commended Moscow for trying to salvage the agreement and expressed hope that talks between Russian and US negotiators would resume in the near future.

Last month Washington gave Russia a 60-day deadline to dismantle missiles that it claims breach the INF treaty or the US would begin the six-month process of formally withdrawing from the deal.

Lavrov for his part said Washington provided no evidence that Russia’s tests of the missile violated the INF treaty.

He said Washington’s demands to destroy the missiles and have regular access to Russian sites were just “a pretext to exit the treaty.”

“During official contacts on arms control and disarmament issues back in October the United States said the decision is definitive and their announcement of the withdrawal from the INF treaty is not an invitation to dialogue. This is a quote.”

Earlier this week, talks between US and Russian officials in Geneva to salvage the deal led nowhere. Moscow said Washington did not appear to be in the mood for more talks while a US official said Russia was just paying “lip service” to transparency.

Russian officials said US representatives had confirmed Washington’s intention to begin withdrawing from the treaty from February 2.

January 19, 2019 Posted by | Germany, politics international, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Renewables beating coal energy in Germany

Renewables have overtaken coal as Germany’s main energy source, World Economic Forum, Reuters Staff, 4 Jan 2019  Renewables overtook coal as Germany’s main source of energy for the first time last year, accounting for just over 40 percent of electricity production, research showed on Thursday.

The shift marks progress as Europe’s biggest economy aims for renewables to provide 65 percent of its energy by 2030 in a costly transition as it abandons nuclear power by 2022 and is devising plans for an orderly long-term exit from coal.

The research from the Fraunhofer organisation of applied science showed that output of solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric generation units rose 4.3 percent last year to produce 219 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity. That was out of a total national power production of 542 TWh derived from both green and fossil fuels, of which coal burning accounted for 38 percent.

Green energy’s share of Germany’s power production has risen from 38.2 percent in 2017 and just 19.1 percent in 2010.

Bruno Burger, author of the Fraunhofer study, said it was set to stay above 40 percent this year.

“We will not fall below the 40 percent in 2019 because more renewable installations are being built and weather patterns will not change that dramatically,” he said……….https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/renewables-overtake-coal-as-germanys-main-energy-source?utm_source=Facebook%20Videos&utm_medium=Facebook%20Video

January 6, 2019 Posted by | Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

Residential batteries ready to compete with fossil fuels and nuclear in Germany

Sonnen: Residential batteries ready to compete with fossil fuels and nuclear in Germany Energy Storage, 14 Dec 18 ,  Batteries in private households will be now able to perform the “same tasks as a conventional power plant”, across the whole of Germany, the CEO of Sonnen has said, following a ruling that opens up grid services markets to the company’s devices.

Sonnen last week announced that it has obtained pre-qualification to enter Germany’s Primary Control Reserve market by grid operator TenneT for its battery energy storage units installed across the country. Primary Control Reserve is a form of frequency regulation, keeping the grid to within acceptable boundaries of its optimum 50Hz operating frequency……….

If every solar home in Germany – there are around 1.5 million at present – was equipped with a SonnenBatterie, the power capacity would add up to 4.5GW, with an energy capacity of 15GWh. Such systems, connected to the virtual battery, or virtual power plant (VPP), could replace four large thermal power plants, equivalent to the entire capacity currently being used for PCR across the entire European continent.

The possibility for scaling up the model, in other words, “is one large step towards a clean and decentralised energy structure,” Ostermann said………https://www.energy-storage.news/news/sonnen-residential-batteries-ready-to-compete-with-fossil-fuels-and-nuclear

December 15, 2018 Posted by | decentralised, energy storage, Germany | Leave a comment

Explosion and fire at German Advanced Nuclear Fuels plant

Sortir du Nucleaire 6th Dec 2018 , An explosion followed by a major fire took place on 6 December 2018 at the
Advanced Nuclear Fuels plant in Lingen (Lower Saxony). This plant, located
near the Emsland nuclear reactor in northwestern Germany, is owned by
Framatome. Nuclear fuel elements are manufactured and sent to several
countries, including France. As a spokesman for the plant later confirmed
to the media Norddeutscher Rundfunk, the fire broke out in the laboratory
of a manufacturing workshop , where the quality of the uranium is tested
before shipment. This laboratory is located in the nuclear part of the
facility. Although quickly controlled, the fire required the intervention
of 150 firefighters from the area. The staff was evacuated. Since then, the
plant has been idling.
https://www.sortirdunucleaire.org/Allemagne-Lingen-Explosion-et-incendie-dans-l-usine-Framatome-de-fabrication-de-combustible-nucleaire1

December 15, 2018 Posted by | Germany, incidents | 1 Comment