Lisa says: “Looks as if someone heard Salusa’s message…” Thanks, Lisa.
Germany ends nuclear program
Homeland Security Newswire, Published 21 March 2011, http://homelandsecuritynewswire.com/germany-ends-nuclear-program
Last Thursday German chancellor Angela Merkel declared that her government plans to close its nuclear power plants in a “measured exit”; the decision to end Germany’s nuclear power program was a result of the continuing nuclear crisis in Japan; some believe that Chancellor Merkel’s announcement is driven more by politics than safety concerns; recent polls show that 80 percent of voters are opposed to nuclear power; Merkel’s party faces close regional elections in states where nuclear plants are located; Switzerland, Venezuela, and China have also announced that they will suspend or delay plans to build new nuclear plants
In an abrupt announcement, last Thursday, German chancellor Angela Merkel declared that her government plans to close its nuclear power plants in a “measured exit.”
Merkel said the decision to end Germany’s nuclear power program was a result of the continuing nuclear crisis in Japan.
After a massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami rocked Japan, crews have been battling to control several nuclear reactors which have begun to overheat. Three reactors have suffered from partial meltdowns and radiation leaks have forced thousands to evacuate.
In a speech to the lower-house of Parliament, Merkel said, “If the seemingly impossible becomes possible, the absolutely unlikely becomes reality in a highly developed country like Japan, that changes the situation.”
She continued, “Then we have a new situation, and this requires action.”
Earlier last week, Chancellor Merkel declared a three month moratorium on nuclear power to conduct safety reviews at the country’s seventeen nuclear power plants.
At the time of the initial announcement, Merkel said, “We can’t yet make do without the peaceful use of nuclear power as a bridge technology if we want to continue to reliably cover our energy requirements as Europe’s biggest economy and if we want to continue to live up to the need to protect the climate,” Merkel said.
Following the moratorium, Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said that two of Germany’s older nuclear plants that have been in operation since the mid-1970s would be shut down regardless of the results of the safety inspection.
Some believe that Chancellor Merkel’s announcement is driven more by politics than safety concerns.
In response to her remarks to Parliament, Sigmar Gabriel, a leading voice against Merkel’s party, said, “No more lies, Chancellor. Last year you claimed that we wanted to exit nuclear energy too fast. Now you stand here and have the chutzpah to say that we were too slow to exit.”
Nuclear power has been a divisive issue in German politics since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. The government’s decision last year to extend the life of its seventeen nuclear power plants for another twelve years was met with wide-spread protests.
After an explosion at Japan’s nuclear power plant, on Saturday 12 March 2011, tens of thousands of Germans formed a human chain in Stuttgart to protest the nuclear plant there. Activists carried signs that read, “Nuclear power – no thanks.”
The Baden-Württemberg state in southern Germany, which houses one of the aging reactors scheduled to be shut down shortly, is holding regional elections this month. The Christian Democrats, Merkel’s party, are struggling to maintain their hold in that state and five additional regional elections will be held this year.
Recent polls show that 80 percent of voters are opposed to nuclear power.
Merkel maintained that the move was not motivated by politics, but by safety issues.
“This is a regulatory step. There is no deal, no agreement with the industry,” she said.
The chancellor has also insisted that nuclear power will not be imported.
“I’m against shutting down our nuclear power plants only to have atomic power imported to Germany from other countries,” she said. “That won’t happen on my watch.”
Instead, Merkel plans to use the cancellation of nuclear power as a catalyst to hasten the transition to clean energy.
“We will use the moratorium period, which we deliberately set to be short and ambitious, to drive the change in energy policy and accelerate it wherever possible, as we want to reach the age of renewable energy as quickly as possible,” she said.
Switzerland, Venezuela, and China have also announced that they will suspend or delay plans to build new nuclear plants.