Germany shuts down half of its remaining nuclear power plants | News | DW

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Germany is due to close three nuclear power plants on Friday, as part of the country’s phasing out of nuclear power.

The shutdowns come as Europe faces one of its worst energy crises and nuclear power is, once again, increasingly supported because it produces far less carbon dioxide.

The plants at Brokdorf in Schleswig-Holstein in the north, Grohnde in Lower Saxony and Unit C at Gundremmingen in Bavaria in the south are being withdrawn from the grid.

The decommissioning process will take two decades and cost 1.1 billion euros ($ 1.25 billion) per plant.

Where does that leave nuclear in Germany?

This means that by 2022 Germany will only have three nuclear power plants – in the states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony.

They are expected to cease production in exactly one year, reducing nuclear power production by about four gigawatts, the equivalent of the power produced by 1,000 wind turbines.

However, two factories that produce fuel and fuel elements for export can continue to operate.

The closures will officially end the nuclear phase-out for domestic energy production started under former German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Merkel government made the decision in 2011 after the accident at the Fukushima atomic power plant in Japan.

An earthquake and tsunami destroyed the coastal power plant in the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl 25 years earlier.

Brokdorf power plant is one of three nuclear power plants in Germany to be closed on New Year’s Eve

Since then, support for nuclear power has increased. According to the World Nuclear Association, nuclear does not produce greenhouse gas emissions during its operation and during its life cycle, has carbon emissions similar to those of wind power.

Berlin remains firm on phasing out nuclear power

The new German government is sticking to the nuclear plan, despite the decline in public opinion.

A recent YouGov survey for Welt am Sonntag The newspaper showed that about half of Germans said they were in favor of canceling the nuclear shutdown due to the recent sharp rise in energy prices.

Monika Schnitzer, member of the German Council of Economic Experts, told the Rhine Post newspaper that it would make sense “economically and environmentally” to delay the closure.

But Economy and Climate Protection Minister Robert Habeck said on Wednesday he did not see the anti-nuclear consensus weakening.

Kerstin Andreae, head of the energy industry association BDEW, insisted the phase-out was irreversible.

Other EU countries, including France, continue to promote nuclear energy and campaign for it to be included in the EU’s list of sustainable energy sources eligible for investment.

Soaring energy prices in Europe

With energy prices soaring across Europe, the timing of the shutdowns could hardly be worse.

Earlier this month, the benchmark gas price in Europe was 10 times higher than at the start of the year – and electricity prices are also skyrocketing.

The spike was fueled by geopolitical tensions with Russia, which supplies a third of Europe’s gas, and is accused of limiting deliveries to put pressure on the European Union over the Ukraine conflict.

Moscow also wants to start operating the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will supply more Russian gas to Germany. However, the project has not yet been officially certified by Berlin.

mm / rt (AFP, dpa, Reuters, AP)


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