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Nuclear Twilight

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Germany announced in March a reversal of policy that will see all the country’s nuclear power plants phased out by 2022. This means that Germany just became the biggest industrial power to announce plans to give up nuclear energy.

 

This is news – big news.  MEDIATIC from all perspectives. The nuclear emergency in Fukushima changed the world order in the industry of nuclear energy. After the alarm in Japan, Germany immediately closed eight nuclear reactors, and the rest of them will shut down in phases until they are all completely inactive in 2022. Following Germany, Italy and Switzerland have announced their intentions to join the nuclear ban. The trend is likely to continue and some journalists have even named it, “The European Nuclear Twilight.” But is that possible?

 

The skeptics speculate that Germany’s decision might only generate an excellent business opportunity for the growth of nuclear power plants in the neighboring countries, such as France or Poland, who show no signs to be falling out of love with nuclear energy.  If that were the case, the risk for nuclear accidents would not be reduced at all, only transferred and maybe increased in countries that are eager to make business with energy production.

 

And the other question is of course, what is going to pick up the slack?  Twenty-five percent of Germany’s energy production comes from nuclear sources, so what is making up for that? Of course renewable energy, coming from wind, water or sunlight would be the ideal alternative, but switching into their use would be extremely expensive and perhaps not as effective.

 

Nuclear energy threatens human safety, but many argue that it is not as dangerous as the effects of global warming; nuclear energy does stand as an important alternative to fight it as a form of energy that emits far fewer greenhouse gasses. So what is the better and/or less harmful choice?

 

The United States is the world’s largest producer of nuclear energy, getting twenty percent of its electrical power from 104 nuclear plants (23 of which share Fukushima’s GE Mark 1 design), but what role is the US playing in this discussion?  Apparently not an important one, despite this subject being one of the central issues of our era…

Here is the most complete video report and analysis that I could find about the subject, it is from Al-Jazeera in its English version:

Inside Story- The Future of Nuclear Power

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