Monday, May 30, 2011

Germany says auf weidersehen to nuke plants

Germany's centre-right coalition announced this morning that it is getting out of the nuclear power business entirely.   All seventeen of its plants will be closed by 2022 at the latest.   This has been a long held plank of the "Red-Green" alliance on the left in the FRG although never seriously implemented; but it is a huge relief to those concerned not just with the huge cost overruns of new projects but also the finickiness of existing installations.   It's also a huge step in trying to put the genie back in the bottle, such that it is, with countries that are nuclear weapons capable but don't have arms of their own.   Canada being one.   The lower one can reduce the terrorist threat so much the better.

The closure announcement may be partly due to the Fukushima disaster back in March, but I think it's also due to the surge in support for the Green Party.   In one state in particular, Baden-Wurttemburg, the Greens now actually are in firm control, the first time the environmentalists have controlled a sub-national legislature anywhere in the EU.

Here in Ontario we're faced with an increased dilemma of what to replace coal thermal plants with.   "Green power" has already become way too expensive with well meaning but ridiculously high feed in tariffs.

And nuclear?   I'm personally not against the concept but I'm young enough to remember the huge cost overruns of Darlington and that was a quarter century ago.   And yes I do remember Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.   It's no comfort to know that even with our very good containment systems, a TMI style "incident" (Level 5 of 7) is still possible in Canada -- it happened at Chalk River in 1952 and could happen again.

Germany's move is a sign we should take notice, that the world really isn't ours for the taking.   What they plan to do with the waste is another thing though -- I won't feel really safe until it's totally disposed of, properly, and permanently out of the hands of would be evil doers.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Auf wIEdersehen