By Can Çakır
The interview was published in Aydınlık Europe newspaper and translated into English by Uwidata.
For Germany, the era of nuclear energy has come to an end after 60 years. Isar 2 in Bavaria, Neckarwestheim 2 in Baden-Württemberg and Emsland nuclear power plant in the northwest of the country were decommissioned. Thus, the nuclear phase-out process in electricity generation was completed.
While the closure of the plants, which met 6 percent of the country’s energy needs last year, was seen as a win by opponents of nuclear power, the decision is not free from criticism of some experts.
Germany imports electricity
On the one hand Germany is going further in decommissioning of nuclear energy, importing electricity on the other hand. The amount of import was 72.7 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2022. It is also noteworthy that 3.82 of this came from France, because France is one of the leading countries in Europe insisting on nuclear energy. Unlike Germany, France plans to build 14 new nuclear reactors. Currently, 56 power plants in the country meet a large part of France’s electricity needs.
Germany in the direction opposite to other European countries
Similar cases apply to the United Kingdom, Finland and Poland. The UK has recently authorized the construction of the Sizewell C nuclear power plant; Finland has extended the lifespan of its aging nuclear power plants. Finland has started work on the construction of small modular nuclear reactors and has recently commissioned the Olkiluoto 3 reactor that is expected to provide 14 per cent of the country’s electricity. Poland has reached an agreement with Westinghouse Electric in 2022. Germany’s eastern neighbor is working on plans for 3 new nuclear power plants. Another neighbor of Germany, the Netherlands, is planning to build 2 new nuclear power plants.
Dr. Anja Weisgerber, member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and member of the Bundestag Committee on the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection considers the closure of the power plants a mistake:
The winter 2023/2024 is coming
“At the moment the Federal Government cannot say exactly what the situation in the coming winter 2023/2024 will be like. That’s why we need to be prepared for any scenario, using all forms of energy within the country and especially those with high baseload capacity. The reactors in Germany are recognized as among the safest in the world. Despite that, the ideology of the Greens is an obstacle to a policy in favor of Germany’s energy needs. However, the majority of the public is in favor of the continuation of the use of nuclear energy.”
Tale regarding “Putin’s responsibility” is no longer valid
Dr. Andreas Kronenberg, nuclear chemistry expert in Germany told the following:
“The contribution of nuclear power to electricity generation in Germany was once considerable. At this point we get to the root of the problem: At that time the economic situation in Germany was good, our economy was growing, electricity was cheap. Today people are realizing that electricity is becoming more expensive for individual use, on a household basis. The tale that Putin is responsible for the increasing electricity prices in our country no longer holds water.
Parallelism to the deindustrialization in Germany
The history of nuclear power in Germany is parallel to the history of the deindustrialization of Germany. The same methods have always been used: The methods that were seen to be successful in decommissioning the nuclear power were taken as a model and applied to other industrial sectors such as coal-fired power stations and the automobile industry. This is how Germany has undergone a huge deindustrialization process.
In this respect, we see that the Greens are pursuing a hypocritical policy. The environmental issue was just a tool for them to sell their politics and now they are reactivating coal-fired power stations instead of nuclear power stations. This is not surprising because the Greens are already actively supporting Ukraine in the current war.
Despite all this, nuclear power plants can still be used. This is the way the majority of the world chooses. This is the way the majority of the world chooses because this technology is constructed utilizing the highest safety standards. It is robust and reliable because the constructors do not refrain from any spending aiming at the best quality.”