Al Fin noted that Germany is leading an anti nuclear charge in Europe while the Asian countries are setting up for a huge increase in fission based nuclear electric power generation. Germany’s announcement comes as no great surprise as only a short time ago the country had backed away from decommissioning nuclear installations out of sheer need.  Germany looks incredibly fickle compared to France’s determined and steady nuclear stance of decades.

The earthquake ravaged Fukushima reactors and the hysteria fed and prodded by the press has Germany retreating from nuclear fission.  But somehow the numbers don’t seem to matter.  Germany is facing a massive shortage of power and one wonders just how an interconnected EU is going to respond to a demand drawing power from the other EU countries.  Some folks are sure to get gouged as prices rise across Europe to accommodate the German paranoia.   With wildly expensive natural gas from Russia and a danger of very expensive electrical supplies, can the German economic juggernaut go on?

New Nuclear Plants at Flamanville

One thing looks certain, the French will have the capacity from new reactors and burning coal is still viable choice.  This isn’t going to be cheap.  Some power companies have let the rumors slip that they will expect to be remunerated for licensed sales that are seen to be denied by the new policy.  That could also raise the stakes by tens of billions of Euros.

Opinion in Germany seems to hold that renewables can make up the shortfall.  Its quite a different take from the Brits where getting everything going is the general idea. Now in fairness, renewables could fill the German gap and more, but the technology is quite young and the scale is enormous. It’s a theory in reality even though lots of pilot size things look good.  Just how much land is involved and the trade off from human food production isn’t spelled out.  The German metaphor looks like asking the toddlers to be the main family breadwinners.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s newest plan would shutter all nuclear plants by 2022, just 11 years out.  This is a reversal from her previous support for nuclear power and a change from last year’s parliamentary decision to keep the plants open until 2036.  That pulls 14 years of research and development time, and opportunities not yet thought of off the table.

Brian Wang reported the depth of the problem last week telling us that Germany plans to not restart seven reactors that had been closed from the last period of paranoia.   Instead, 19 new fossil fuel power plants are under construction most burning coal, due to startup over the coming years.  Where is the Famed Green Party when the obvious danger shows?

Even Switzerland caught the disease.  For American’s the spectacle of Europeans, especially the Swiss, diving off a power production cliff seems, well, shocking.  The Germans are one thing, but the Swiss?

Switzerland had planned two new reactors with $10 billion committed.  At least the reports have it that the warnings of expensive energy imports and the damage to industrial competitiveness made the Swiss news.

A major foundation stone of world stability resides in Europe.  As the U.S. flirts with economic meltdown through government borrowing Europe has held the western anchor of character in the world’s economy. Now that is at risk.

It looks like Germany has fallen for the twin idols of environmentalism and the welfare state sacrificing their long-range best interests.  Even now rich Asian firms are buying up European companies as well as American ones.  And Asia seems to understand that “more, better and cheaper” energy supplies are crucial for their economic success.  They’re signing on for lots of nuclear power.  That’s an old lesson lost on the West.

It seems odd that an earthquake driven tsunami wave sweeping over the levees, wiping the Fukushima reactors safety equipment out of commission with no meltdown or even noteworthy harm can reverse German and Swiss policy half a world away. Which begs the question when the consequences of the greatly reduce electrical generation and much higher prices become understood, just how long will the new policy hold?

The U.S. could drive into thorium in a major way, get with mini reactors with speed and aplomb and drive with leadership to “better, faster and cheaper” in less than a year and accomplish more economic revival than a trillion dollars of handouts.

Or maybe the Rossi E-Cat will break into the market in a big way nullifying the debates worldwide.

Still, Germany is trying another run at a silly experiment, throwing away a major resource over reports laced with hyperbole and hysteria.

We do live in interesting times. It’s just a shame the West has chosen decisions to become poorer as the East works to build up its wealth.


2 Comments so far

  1. Musson on June 3, 2011 7:34 AM

    This seems like a great big leap of faith by the Germans and the Swiss. They don’t know where they are going. But, they know where they don’t want to be.

    Moving backward to coal seems unwise. But, if the Rossi LENR system is for real, this would be a huge opportunity for nickel based energy.

  2. M. Simon on June 8, 2011 1:16 PM

    Hysteria caused by Fukushima? Uh. How about a cost estimated at over $100 bn and radiation effects that will last for a century.

    Had the wind been blowing inland when the accident happened it would have been worse than Chernobyl in its immediate effects.

    People are right to be afraid. Nuclear reactors could be made much safer (it might mean going to thorium). They should be.

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