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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Germany to Close Nuclear Plants

'Every day of nuclear power is one too many'

Japan's Fukushima disaster has had a huge impact on the future of nuclear power. Once a vibrant, industrialized nation, the country was suddenly rendered helpless after an unforeseen natural disaster. Last weekend, all across Germany, protesters made it quite clear that they do not want nuclear power and on Monday Angela Merkel announced her intention to shut down all nuclear plants by 2022. She said "As the first industrialised nation, we can achieve such a transformation toward efficient and renewable energies with all the opportunities that brings for exports, developing new technologies and jobs." Nuclear energy currently provides 23 per cent of Germany's energy supply.

So where does that leave Europe and especially France who have a whopping 58 nuclear plants. The European Commission announced that stress tests would be performed on all plants in Europe to make sure they are safe but critics say it's only a tactic to reassure the public. French Energy Minister Eric Besson has a good point when he said "Germany would become more reliant on fossil fuels (coal) and their electricity will be more expensive and more polluting and renewable energies won't be able to fully compensate."

Germany wants to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2020 and hopefully they will set a precedent that the rest of the world can follow.