Following the Fukushima disaster, Germany’s decided that its 17 nuclear power plants will either stay closed or be shut down in the next 11 years, despite relying on nuclear power for almost 23 per cent of its energy.
Currently, eight of the country’s reactors are already closed – one, the Krümmel in North Germany, has been closed since 2009 following a fire in 2007 and a short-circuit just days after it was repaired in 2009. The seven other reactors were suspended right after the Japanese fallout in March, after a report found them to be skirting the line of safety. Prior to these eight reactors closing, 23 per cent of Germany’s energy came from these 17 plants.
Germany’s coalition government has said that of the nine remaining reactors, six will finish work by 2021, and the three others – Germany’s newest-built – will be closed in 2022.
So what will Germany do post-2022? Build more wind farms most likely, adding to the farms that are already on the North Sea side of the country. They will also aim to cut down on electricity usage by 10 per cent in the next decade, by building more efficient buildings and machines.
Despite Germany’s honorable intentions, its near-neighbour Sweden has stickybeaked over a few fences and called their decision “unrealistic”, with the Swedish environment minister Andreas Carlgren adding his concern that “to focus so strongly on which year nuclear power is to be wound down raises the risk that the key issue is missed: how are we to meet the dual challenge of both cutting nuclear power dependency and of climate emissions.” [BBC and Reuters and The Local]