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Mushrooms in Germany are still contaminated by Chernobyl radiation

Mushrooms in Germany are still contaminated by Chernobyl radiation By Reuters   Around 95% of wild mushroom samples collected in Germany in the last six years still showed radioactive contamination from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, albeit not above legal limits, the German food safety regulator said on Friday.

Elevated concentrations of caesium-137 and caesium-134 isotopes bearing the characteristic signature of the Chernobyl blast were found especially in southern Germany, the federal office for consumer protection and food safety (BVL) said.

However, none of the 74 samples tested exceeded the legal limit of 600 becquerels of radiation per kg.

The Chernobyl reactor, located in what is now Ukraine, spewed tonnes of nuclear waste into the atmosphere, spreading radioactivity across swathes of the continent and causing a spike in cancers in the more immediate region.

The BVL said the radioactive material lingered in forests because their ecosystems recycled nutrients so efficiently, meaning that wild mushrooms will show contamination for much longer than other agricultural products.

Concern at the long-term impact of nuclear disasters has fueled public opposition to nuclear power, and in Germany triggered a decision, shortly after the accident at Japan’s Fukushima plant in 2011, to abandon it altogether. 

October 9, 2021 Posted by | environment, Germany, radiation | Leave a comment

German utility aims to expand renewables, rejects keeping nuclear reactors open

RWE CEO rejects keeping nuclear power plants open, Reuters DUESSELDORF, Aug 24 – German utility RWE (RWEG.DE) rejected on Tuesday the idea of letting nuclear power plants stay open for longer due to the fact they produce less carbon dioxide.

“We are not available for this,” CEO Markus Krebber told journalists. The German government is paying four nuclear operators – including RWE – nearly 2.6 billion euros ($3.05 billion) in compensation for forcing them to shut their nuclear plants early in response to the Fukushima disaster.

RWE, which used to rely heavily on nuclear power and coal, has transformed itself into one of the largest green power companies in Europe.

Krebber called for a new federal government to accelerate the pace of the shift to renewable energy by increasing targets, expanding the grid and cutting the approval procedures for wind energy plants.

Krebber, who took over as CEO at the end of April, will present his strategy in the fourth quarter, including a new dividend policy: “We are no longer a dividend stock. We are a growth stock,” he said.

August 26, 2021 Posted by | Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

Do Germany and the Netherlands want to say goodbye to US nuclear weapons? 

Do Germany and the Netherlands want to say goodbye to US nuclear weapons?  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists By Michal SmetanaMichal OndercoTom Etienne, July 21, 2021
 Does stationing US nuclear weapons in Europe still make sense? As of 2021, there remain about 100 B61 nuclear bombs stored at military bases in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and Turkey (Kristensen and Korda 2021). Deployed under NATO’s nuclear sharing policy, these air-deliverable weapons are supposed to serve as a tool of extended deterrence against Russia and assurance of European allies about the willingness of Washington to defend them with all means available.

Yet, there are new—and loud—voices on both sides of the Atlantic that question the need to continue this Cold War-era practice in the 21st century. While certainly not everyone agrees with the recent proposal by Harvard University’s Stephen Walt to “fold America’s nuclear umbrella” altogether (Walt 2021), many politicians in European hosting states advocate for at least an early removal of the remaining US bombs from their soil. Arguably, the debates over the future of US nuclear weapons in Europe are now of paramount importance given the attempts of the new US administration to balance its approach vis-à-vis Moscow (Squassoni 2021) and Europe’s ambition to seek strategic autonomy (Meijer and Brooks 2021)……… (subscribers only)

July 22, 2021 Posted by | Germany, politics international | Leave a comment

Germany joins 15 other nations to call for an end to nuclear testing ‘once and for all’

Germany, Spain and Sweden: ‘End nuclear weapons testing’

Germany is joining 15 other countries for a nuclear disarmament conference aiming to build momentum after a US-Russia summit renewed hopes for more arms control between the two nuclear powers.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said ahead of a nuclear arms control conference on Monday that the threat of a nuclear arms race grows “where tension and mistrust predominate.”

“More than ever, we need steps that encourage trust through verifiable agreements created between nuclear-weapons states,” Maas said before departing to Madrid for a meeting of the Stockholm Initiative, which brings together 16 countries advocating global nuclear arms reduction.

The conference follows last month’s summit in Geneva between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to start talks on arms control.

A statement after the summit said the US and Russia “seek to lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures.” 

“We need to build on this with clear steps by nuclear weapons states to fulfill their responsibility and obligations on disarmament,” Maas said, adding that the Geneva summit shows how progress is possible.

An end to nuclear testing ‘once and for all’

A joint editorial written by Maas, Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya, and Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde listed several steps nuclear-weapons countries could take toward disarmament.

“This could include downgrading the role of nuclear weapons in strategies and doctrines, reducing the risk of conflict and an accidental nuclear weapon deployment, further reducing nuclear stockpiles and laying the foundations for a new generation of arms control agreements,” the foreign ministers wrote Monday in the Rheinische Post newspaper.

“We must end nuclear weapons testing once and for all by finally bringing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into force, restarting negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for military use, and building robust and credible capabilities to verify nuclear disarmament steps,” the editorial added.

What is the status of global nuclear arms control?

In February, the US and Russia agreed to extend the New START disarmament treaty. It limits the nuclear arsenals of both countries to 800 launchers and 1,550 ready-to-use nuclear warheads each.

The New START treaty is the only major arms control treaty in place between the US and Russia after the US withdrew from the Open Skies Treaty in May citing Russian non-compliance.

At the beginning of 2021, the US, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea possessed a total of 13,080 nuclear warheads, a decrease of 320 from the previous year, according to the Stockholm Peace Research Institute SIPRI annual report published in June.

July 6, 2021 Posted by | Germany, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Germany’s success in phasing out nuclear energy, and remarkable uptake of solar.

Germany’s nuclear phase out expected to be complete by 2022 as country
cuts capacity by over 60% last decade, says GlobalData. Between 2010 and
2020, installed nuclear capacity in Germany declined from 20.5GW to 8.1GW,
according to GlobalData, which estimates the country will reach 4.1GW by
the end of this year.

The leading data and analytics company notes that
this progression sets Germany on track to completely phase out nuclear by
2022. Rohit Ravetkar, Power Analyst at GlobalData says: “The German
Government has made steady progress towards the elimination of nuclear
power following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

Under the Energiewende policy, the country’s aim to fill its power generation void
with renewable power includes a planned increase of solar PV capacity to
100GW by 2030.

The expansion of solar PV systems has been the most
successful in Germany, increasing at an impressive compound annual growth
rate (CAGR) of 11.6% between 2010 and 2020.” Germany has been at the
forefront in the adoption of solar PV technology since 2000. The country
launched the 100,000 rooftop PV program way back in 1999, providing a
significant push to the solar PV technology.

 Global Data 29th June 2021

July 1, 2021 Posted by | Germany, politics, renewable | 1 Comment

Germany’s search for a nuclear waste solution

Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte 25th May 2021, Search for a repository. In June 2011 the German Bundestag voted with alarge majority in favor of Germany’s complete withdrawal from nuclear energy under the impression of the reactor disaster in Fukushima, Japan. Of the 17 German nuclear power plants at the time, eleven have now been switched off and they will be closed by 2022. last pile from the network.

An end to German nuclear policy, at the latest has been accompanied by polarization and mass protests since the 1970s, That doesn’t mean, however, that the task at hand is to find one for the approximately 27,000 cubic meters of high-level radioactive waste from six decades of nuclear power plant operation To find the safest possible repository location – for a million years. The repository question is not new. While international from the late 1950s Years of disposing of nuclear waste in the world’s oceans, ice sheets or was discussed in space, crystallized early in the Federal
Republic underground storage emerged as the preferred solution.

In 1977 the Salt dome in Gorleben in Lower Saxony named as the location for a “National Waste Disposal Center” – although the weighting is more scientific Findings, political agendas and economic interests. The violent one
Resistance that soon broke out in the region spread throughout the country and became a well-networked movement, made “Gorleben” on the code for anti-nuclear protest in Germany and the pitfalls of Search for a repository.

June 3, 2021 Posted by | Germany, wastes | Leave a comment

Despite Germany’s nuclear phaseout, the secure supply of electricity in Germany will remain guaranteed at the current high level for the foreseeable future.

Renew Economy 16th May 2021
Germany’s target of achieving greenhouse gas neutrality by 2045 has a
very important sub-goal: The expansion of renewable energy capacity to
provide green power for transport, heating and making hydrogen. But running
such an integrated energy system on fluctuating renewables alone will
require not just more wind turbines and solar panels, but a power network
that ensures the delicate balance of supply and demand at all times, while
conventional capacities are shut down.

So far, the power supply in Germany
remains one of the most reliable in the world. The government and grid
operators are confident it will stay this way despite the challenges of
electrifying the nation and experts highlight the importance of European
power grid integration. But others predict that the country will soon be in
need of back-up capacity. Germany’s conventional power generation
capacity is beginning to dwindle. In December 2022, the country will have
over 23 gigawatts (GW) less nuclear power capacity than ten years ago. In a
reply to parliamentarians, it wrote in March 2021:

“All analyses of
supply security known to the federal government and carried out in
accordance with the latest scientific findings come to the conclusion that
the secure supply of electricity in Germany will remain guaranteed at the
current high level for the foreseeable future. The analyses also take into
account the phase-out of nuclear energy and the end of coal-fired power

May 18, 2021 Posted by | ENERGY, Germany | Leave a comment

Both Germany and Britain are decarbonising while nuclear production is greatly reducing

Nuclear Phase-Out – UK & Germany**

Even-handed analysis of data from Germany and the UK indicates that it is
still easily possible to dramatically reduce carbon emissions whilst
greatly reducing the amount of energy coming from nuclear power.

One thing not usually appreciated in the arguments about the impact of nuclear power
plant retirements in Germany is that in reality much the same process has
occurred, for different reasons, in the UK.

In both Germany and the UK the
falling proportion of electricity coming from nuclear power has gone along
with dramatic reductions in carbon emissions from electricity in both

Peering through the fog of the current debate one would almost
think that ‘pro-nuclear’ UK was busy cutting its carbon emissions by
increasing nuclear output whilst ‘anti-nuclear’ Germany was busy
increasing them, or at least not reducing them, by its phase-out policy.

Yet nothing of the sort has been happening. Both the cases of Germany and
the UK knock the pro-nuclear arguments on the head that say that increases
in renewable energy cannot reduce carbon emissions without maintaining
nuclear production. Clearly they can!

100% Renewables 16th May 2021

May 18, 2021 Posted by | ENERGY, Germany, UK | Leave a comment

German government settles disputes with nuclear plant operators

German govt decides amended nuclear law, settles disputes with plant operators, Energy Wire 24 Mar 21,

Germany’s government cabinet today approved an amendment to the Nuclear Energy Act which provides for financial compensation to nuclear power plant operators due to the country’s phase-out decision of 2011. Plant operators will be compensated with a total of 2.4 billion euros for the amount of electricity they couldn’t sell and devalued investments, government ministries had announced earlier this month.

An amendment of the existing compensation rules was necessary after Germany’s highest court ruled in November 2020 that the compensation clauses in the nuclear exit law are unconstitutional. While the ruling left the general nuclear phase-out decision and timetable untouched, it forced the government to revisit the law again. Now the government also announced that it had agreed with energy companies EnBW, E.ON/PreussenElektra, RWE and Vattenfall to set the actual amounts of compensation and in return have the companies settle all related legal disputes.

Environment minister Svenja Schulze, whose ministry drafted the amendment said in a press release: “It is good that we are now finally drawing a line under the protracted legal disputes. This is happening at a price that is significantly lower than the energy suppliers’ original demands.”

Germany will pay compensation totalling about 2.428 billion euros. Vattenfall will receive 1.425 billion euros, RWE 880 million euros, EnBW 80 million euros and E.ON/PreussenElektra 42.5 million euros. The compensation is granted primarily for electricity volumes that cannot be used in the group’s own nuclear power plants (RWE and Vattenfall) – a total of about 2.3 billion euros – and for devalued investments in the lifetime extension withdrawn by the German Bundestag (EnBW, E.ON/PreussenElektra and RWE).

Germany’s accelerated nuclear exit was passed by a large majority in parliament in 2011. The last nuclear reactor will go offline at the end of 2022.

Minister Svenja Schulze said that, with the accelerated nuclear phase-out, Germany has created “predictability and reliability on the energy market and cleared the way for electricity from wind and sun”. Johannes Teyssen, CEO of German energy company E.ON, told business daily Handelsblatt that days of nuclear energy are numbered, as no business-oriented company will invest in it. “If nuclear power plants are still being built anywhere, it will be by state-owned companies or with massive state support,” he said, and added it is “too expensive, too risky and too politically explosive”. Teyssen also said he was sceptical of plans for small nuclear power units.NEWS

March 25, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, Germany, politics | Leave a comment

In Germany, the Greens are likely to be propelled into government in the national vote

Times 14th March 2021, The national vote is expected to propel the Greens into government for the first time since 2005 — either as junior partner to the CDU/CSU or even as the leader of a so-called “traffic light coalition” with the Social Democrats (red) and the liberal Free Democrats (yellow).

The Baden-Württemberg poll — and another today in neighbouringRhineland-Palatinate — are the first key indicators of what lies ahead. Tucked in the southwest corner of Germany between France and Switzerland, Baden-Württemberg is at first sight an unlikely Green stronghold. The
state is home to Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, and hundreds of thousands of jobs in the area around Stuttgart, the state capital, depend on the car industry. But in 2011, in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, Kretschmann became Germany’s first — and so far only —Green state premier after running on a platform to shut nuclear plants, impose speed limits on the autobahn and reform an elitist school system. He was re-elected five years later after his party’s share of the vote surged to a record 30 per cent.

March 15, 2021 Posted by | Germany, politics | Leave a comment

Germany pledgse to work towards a nuclear free Europe

Germany pledges to work towards nuclear-free EU on Fukushima anniversary   Benjamin Wehrmann,  12 Mar 21, Nuclear phase-out EU    10 years after the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima that prompted Germany to confirm its prior nuclear phase-out decision, the environment ministry has published further steps necessary to reduce nuclear risk, including the use of nuclear energy in other countries. Environment minister Svenja Schulze said, it was a “myth” that the technology could help to find a way out of the climate crisis and stressed that investments should go into the further development of renewable energies instead.

Ten years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, German environment minister Svenja Schulze insisted that the country does not consider nuclear energy an option for low-carbon power production. “Nuclear power is neither safe nor clean,” Schulze said, rejecting the “myth” that the technology could help to find a way out of the climate crisis. “The future is for renewable energy,” she said. Germany’s phase-out decision, originally taken in the year 2000 and confirmed after the 2011 meltdown of the power plant in Japan, had “brought peace to a social conflict that raged for decades” and helped minimise a major risk at least nationally, Schulze said.

Nuclear power could not be in Germany’s interest when it is generated abroad either, “be it in our immediate neighbourhood, in the EU or globally”, the minister said, adding that “our work has not ended with the German nuclear exit”. The environment ministry published a position paper listing 12 key objectives required to reduce nuclear risk even further. They include actions under the three sections of a) completing the German nuclear phase-out: Close nuclear plants, promote final storage, accelerate the expansion of renewable energies; b) reducing nuclear risks in Europe, strengthen cooperation; and c) increasing nuclear safety worldwide, maintain nuclear risk competence and provide appropriate information.

Today we commemorate the catastrophic #nuclear accident that took place in #Fukushima 10 years ago. This disaster has shown us the risks of #NuclearEnergy. Also @SvenjaSchulze68

With a view to the decision by Germany’s largest neighbour country France to extend the running time of old nuclear reactors, she said that while the “principle of energy sovereignty” would have to be respected, there are “technical and economic limits to retrofitting”. Especially plants near the German border would be “monitored very closely and critically”, the minister said, adding that the German government expected France to enable “comprehensive cross-border cooperation” on the matter.  More than half of all EU states do not use nuclear power at all or are considering a phase-out, Schulze said.

“Together with likeminded countries in Europe, I will actively work towards more countries joining the phase-out of nuclear power,” she stated. Schulze minister colleagues from Austria and Belgium, Leonore Gewessler and Tinne van der Straeten, joined her German counterpart in a joint message published on Twitter, in which the three state representatives said they will work towards ending the use of nuclear power in Europe and pave the way for an energy system solely based on renewables.

Nuclear “poison for a secure and climate-just future” – NGOs

Ten years after the disaster, Japanese officials in Fukushima still grapple with key questions regarding the removal, storage and processing of the plant’s nuclear waste. These problems remain unresolved and many former residents are still not allowed to return to their homes, Schulze said. “If we’ve learned something from all this then it has to be the common goal to protect people from further devastation from nuclear power.” For Germany, nuclear power’s “residual risk” simply had been too significant to carry on with the technology, she argued. Of the six remaining reactors in the country, three will go offline as planned in 2021 and the remaining three at the end of 2022. A 2019 survey found that 77 percent of people in Germany support the nuclear phase-out and 60 percent also its quick finalisation by the end of next year.

A group of more than 50 civil society and environmental groups backed the government’s stance on excluding nuclear energy from Germany’s emissions reduction plans, arguing that claims about the technology being “climate neutral” and “environmentally friendly” would be “poison for a secure and climate-just future”. In a joint letter, the group including NGOs like Germanwatch, BUND, NABU or PowerShift said nuclear power could have no future in energy systems and called on the government to double down on its efforts to phase-out the technology, including a shutdown of uranium enrichment facilities in Germany and an end of EU nuclear power project funding. Investments instead should flow into renewable power, storage technology and efficiency gains, the group argued.

March 13, 2021 Posted by | Germany, politics | Leave a comment

Widespread public support for Germany’s nuclear phaseout, as renewable energy expands

TechXplore, 5 Mar 21,    ”……….By the end of 2022, Germany will have achieved its goal of completely phasing out nuclear power, set by Chancellor Angela Merkel on May 30, 2011.

The plan represented a dramatic change of course by Merkel’s ruling conservatives, who just a few months earlier had agreed to extend the lifespan of Germany’s oldest power stations.

It was met with widespread public support in a country with a powerful anti-nuclear movement, fuelled first by fears of a Cold War conflict and then by disasters such as Chernobyl.

Yet it also prompted a lengthy legal battle with major energy companies, which ended Friday with Berlin’s agreement to pay 2.4 billion euros worth of compensation to nuclear power plant operators………

The German government is still looking for a long-term storage site for the country’s residual nuclear waste.

Renewables have seen a spectacular rise since 2011 and in 2020 made up more than 50 percent of Germany’s energy mix for the first time, according to the Fraunhofer research institute—compared with less than 25 percent 10 years ago.

The declining importance of nuclear power (12.5 percent in 2020) “has been compensated for by the expansion of renewable energies”, Claudia Kemfert, an energy expert at the DIW economic research institute, told AFP.

Nuclear power stations have therefore not been replaced by coal, though the fossil fuel does still represent almost a quarter of the electricity mix.

March 6, 2021 Posted by | Germany, politics | Leave a comment

Germany to pay nuclear operators 2.4 bln euros for plant closures

March 6, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, Germany, politics | Leave a comment

Get the Nuclear Weapons Out of Germany

Get the Nuclear Weapons Out of Germany , Let’s Try Democracy, By David Swanson, Executive Director of World BEYOND War, and Heinrich Buecker, der World BEYOND War Landeskoordinator in Berlin-27 Jan 21, Billboards are going up in Berlin that proclaim “Nuclear Weapons Are Now Illegal. Get Them Out of Germany!”

What can this possibly mean? Nuclear weapons may be unpleasant, but what exactly is newly illegal about them, and what do they have to do with Germany?

Since 1970, under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, most nations have been forbidden to acquire nuclear weapons, and those already possessing them — or at least those party to the treaty, such as the United States — have been obliged to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”……….

Change, including on such practices as slavery and child labor, has always been far more global than one might infer from the typical self-centered U.S. history text. Globally, nuclear weapons possession is becoming thought of as the behavior of a rogue state — well, a rogue state and its collaborators.

Can the German government be brought up to international standards? Belgium has already come very close to evicting its nuclear weapons. Sooner rather than later, a nation with U.S. nukes will become the first to toss them out and to ratify the new treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. Even sooner, some other member of NATO will probably sign onto the new treaty, putting it at odds with NATO’s involvement in the hosting of nuclear weapons in Europe. Eventually Europe as a whole will find its way to the anti-apocalypse position. Does Germany want to lead the way to progress or bring up the rear?

New nuclear weapons that could be deployed in Germany, if Germany allows it, are horrifyingly characterized by U.S. military planners as “more usable,” despite being far more powerful than what destroyed Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

Do the people of Germany support this? Certainly we have never been consulted. Keeping nuclear weapons in Germany is not democratic. It is also not sustainable. It takes funding badly needed for people and environmental protection and puts it into environmentally destructive weaponry that increases the risk of nuclear holocaust. Scientists’ Doomsday Clock is closer to midnight than ever before. If you want to help dial it back, or even eliminate it, you can get involved with World BEYOND War. ………..

January 28, 2021 Posted by | Germany, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Germany hosts France, Britain for talks on Iran nuclear deal

Germany hosts France, Britain for talks on Iran nuclear deal, DW, 25 Nov 20, 

German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass met his counterparts Dominic Raab and Jean-Yves Le Drian in Berlin for talks on the Iran nuclear deal. The trio hopes for a change in US policy once Joe Biden is sworn in.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas held talks with his French and British counterparts in Berlin on Monday, with the partners urging Iran to stop breaching a nuclear deal it signed in 2015.

“From our view, Iran is systematically violating the agreement,” a spokeswoman with the German Foreign Ministry said. “Together with our European partners, we urge Iran to stop these violations and return to fulfilling all its nuclear obligations.”

Maas met with Britain’s Dominic Raab and France’s top diplomat Jean-Yves le Drian ahead of an expected change of policy towards Iran when US President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in as president in January.

Maas’s spokeswoman said she “confident” that a “constructive” US approach would help rein in the Iranian government, German news agency DPA reported.

The agreement, which world powers reached with Iran, sought to limit Tehran’s nuclear program to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons in return for the easing of economic sanctions…….

Changing US policy

Biden, who takes office on January 20, has said he would re-join the accord if Tehran first resumed strict compliance.

He wants to work with allies “to strengthen and extend it, while more effectively pushing back against Iran’s other destabilizing activities.”…..

November 26, 2020 Posted by | Germany, politics international | Leave a comment