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Bob Meinetz's picture
Nuclear Power Policy Activist Independent

I am a passionate advocate for the environment and nuclear energy. With the threat of climate change, I’ve embarked on a mission to help overcome the fears of nuclear energy. I’ve been active in...

  • Member since 2018
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  • Feb 28, 2022

"BERLIN, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Germany signalled a U-turn in key energy policies on Sunday, floating the possibility of extending the life-spans of coal and even nuclear plants to cut dependency on Russian gas, part of a broad political rethink following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Europe's top economy has been under pressure from other Western nations to become less dependent on Russian gas, but its plans to phase out coal-fired power plants by 2030 and to shut its nuclear power plants by end-2022 have left it with few options.

In a landmark speech on Sunday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz spelled out a more radical path to ensure Germany will be able to meet rising energy supply and diversify away from Russian gas, which accounts for half of Germany's energy needs.

'The events of the past few days have shown us that responsible, forward-looking energy policy is decisive not only for our economy and the environment. It is also decisive for our security,' Scholz told lawmakers in a special Bundestag session called to address the Ukraine crisis."

Germany had to learn the hard way: nuclear energy is the only source capable of providing reliable, carbon-free energy - and maintaining energy independence. Whether the U.S. will have to learn the hard way too remains to be seen. - BM

Photo: The closure of Elmsland nuclear power plant, scheduled for the end of this 2022, may be reconsidered.

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Mar 1, 2022

When Germany began Energiewende, it seemed like a harmless indulgence to voters who wanted renewables, even if it made energy more expensive.  But Germany could not add renewables fast enough to replace nuclear and fossil fuel at the same time, and the fossil fuel industry had more public support (in spite of the claimed public concern about air pollution and CO2 emission).  The result was a predictable failure to meaningfully reduce fossil fuel dependence, in general.

But more specifically, they became more dependent on energy imports from Russian.  No doubt this dependence helped to embolden Putin to attack Ukraine.  So it is no longer just German consumers who pay the price for their misguided energy policy.  Ukraine now pays as well.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Mar 1, 2022

Agree Nathan. Putin is probably responsible for more deaths in Ukraine in the last five days than all those from Chernobyl - since 1986.

Peter Farley's picture
Peter Farley on Mar 1, 2022

1. Germany's fossil fuel electricity production fell from 293 TWh in 2010 to 197 TWh last year.

2. Germany imports some of its supplies of black coal and gas from Russia. Gas fired electricity fell from 63 TWh to 51 TWh and black coal from 100TWh to 46 TWh.

In other words the evidence suggests both of your claims are incorrect 

Peter Farley's picture
Peter Farley on Mar 1, 2022

What the minister actually said
Habeck said that letting coal plants run longer “means a longer dependence on hard coal from Russia”, while buying coal elsewhere would create a dependency on other countries. Regarding nuclear, the Green Party minister - whose party is in staunch opposition to nuclear energy - said that he wouldn’t “ideologically reject” letting existing plants run longer but that his ministry’s initial examination had shown that “for the winter of 2022/23 nuclear power would not help us”. Preparations for the upcoming shutdowns are so far advanced, he said, that the nuclear power plants can only continue to operate "under the highest safety concerns and possibly with fuel supplies that have not yet been secured".

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Mar 1, 2022

Just a matter of time, Peter. No doubt shivering in the cold and dark will soften the staunch opposition to nuclear energy of Habeck and his Green Party. Seems Greens have to learn the value of clean, reliable electricity the hard way - unfortunate, that they have to drag the rest of the EU into the dark with them.

By the way, Western nuclear plants have always operated under the highest safety concerns. Where was that nuclear plant that blew up and generated the irrational fear that is the source of Germany's distrust? I believe it was in the same Soviet Union that taught oligarch Putin his callous disregard for the health and safety of its people, wasn't it?

Bob Meinetz's picture
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