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Germany To End Nuclear Power By 2022

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the nicht-mehr-kernkraft dept.

Japan 822

dcollins writes "Germany on Monday announced plans to become the first major industrialized power to shut down all its nuclear plants in the wake of the disaster in Japan, with a phase-out due to be wrapped up by 2022... Germany has 17 nuclear reactors on its territory, eight of which are currently off the electricity grid... Already Friday, the environment ministers from all 16 German regional states had called for the temporary order on the seven plants to be made permanent... Monday's decision is effectively a return to the timetable set by the previous Social Democrat-Green coalition government a decade ago. And it is a humbling U-turn for Merkel, who at the end of 2010 decided to extend the lifetime of Germany's 17 reactors by an average of 12 years, which would have kept them open until the mid-2030s."

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822 comments

First in a long line I hope! (-1, Flamebait)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286096)

Great news! The human species has suffered with health problems since we left the trees. However since the invention of radioactivity, there has been a direct link between the amount of radiation used in the world and spinal subluxations which cause ill health.

Hopefully Germany is just the first in a long long of countries dumping radioactivity!

Take care,
Bob.

Re:First in a long line I hope! (1)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286278)

I don't like nuclear power either.... but I base my opinion on some real science instead of your chiropractic quackery.

Re:First in a long line I hope! (2)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286464)

Out of curiosity, what makes you opposed to the modern iteration of nuclear reactors? The major accidents have all been Mark I reactors, which have been known to be unsafe since 1972 (warnings ignored, thank GE in the U.S.). For modern reactors, "real science" reveals mostly positives, with almost no chance of a critical meltdown.

Re:First in a long line I hope! (0)

LavouraArcaica (2012798) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286506)

Major accidents have all been Mark 1 reactors JUST BECAUSE Mark 1 reactors are OLDER. and It's pretty clear that there is a correlation between AGE and accidents. When the mark 2 reactors begin to be old, major accidents will happen as well.

Re:First in a long line I hope! (4, Insightful)

Shayde (189538) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286290)

Oh yes. Excellent news. Because nuclear power is the cleanest, most dependable, most regulated, and lowest impacting power source on the planet right now, lets shut it down for no realistic reason. "Spinal sublexations which cause ill health?" Ah, you're a chiropractor. Sooooo, your position is that mythical twisting of the vertebrae (Oh yes, sorry, chiropractors have co-opted the term 'subluxation' to mean whatever they think might be wrong, rather than an actual anatomical definition. Convenient) ... which you say causes ill health, is due to radioactivity, that no one has ever sensed? That's quite a reach my friend.

The short version is nuclear power is the safest power we have. (Xref: http://climatesight.org/2011/03/15/nuclear-power-in-context/ [climatesight.org] ) That chart shows direct-impact deaths, and does not show the number of mine workers who die yearly mining coal, or the oil rig operators who die, or the VAST environmental impact directly from burning fossil fuels. In 40 years of nuclear power, there have been THREE nuclear plant failures. TMI, Chernobyl, and fukujima. TMI resulted in negligible radiation release. Chernobyl resulted in 64 confirmed deaths (though there is ENORMOUS variation in forecasts for 'potential deaths'), and Fukujima has, we've noted so far, had ONE death. One.

I can already hear the raising of the "But, it's Radiation! Radiation is BAD!" - yes, of course it is, but it must be taken in context. The levels talked about around these plants varies wildly, and your random "because we have nuke plants, people are getting more colds because of mythical undefineable spinal shift" is a textbook "Correlation proves Causation [wikipedia.org] - a logical fallacy.

Re:First in a long line I hope! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286372)

You should move to the Fukushima area or to Pripyat and enjoy the clean and healthy environment there.

Re:First in a long line I hope! (2, Interesting)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286402)

No debate with your points. But here are some other insights...

Did you know to this day 20% of Belarus's farmland is unusable?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belarus [wikipedia.org]

The problem is that nuclear has serious longterm issues like this. Sure there are less immediate deaths, but the longer term deaths related to nuclear are much higher. This is the fault of humanity that can't look beyond the next Apple announcement.

So tell me how do you plan on making all of the land usable again? Oh wait I forgot you are not near any of these disasters and as such could not shive a ghit. Until it happens in your backyard!

Re:First in a long line I hope! (0)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286462)

In the long term, we all die. How many people have lived longer, fuller lives because of nuclear power? That's the balance.

Re:First in a long line I hope! (3, Insightful)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286520)

Sure there are less immediate deaths, but the longer term deaths related to nuclear are much higher.

Much higher than what? Deaths from burning dirty brown coal? I doubt it.

Re:First in a long line I hope! (2, Insightful)

sosume (680416) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286568)

The funny thing is, that they will need a replacement for the loss of nuclear power. Since there are also laws that energy must be "green" for a certain percentage, coal plants will be off limits. Which will lead to .. Germany importing energy from France. Which is generated by ... dumtiedum .. nuclear reactors!

Hypocrisy at its finest.

Re:First in a long line I hope! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286338)


invention of radioactivity

You should have taken an entry level science course instead of enrolling in Chiropractic Clown College.

Nuclear != Radioactivity (1)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286390)

Firstly, nobody "invented" radioactivity. The Big Bang was a nuclear explosion. We are (a very small) part of the fallout.

You could say that someone invented nuclear power. This is not the same thing as radioactivity. Some might say it uses radioactivity but for better explanations you should read a textbook or even Wikipedia.

Spinal subluxations have been around a lot longer than human generated radioactivity. The fact that they have increased does not mean that they are caused by radioactive leaks/fallout. Correlation is not causation. They may be related but there are a lot more people around that there was in the time of the Curies and a lot of the things that people died of back then are far less prevalent.

Cancer is a bigger problem and some most definitely is related to radioactivity. We definitely need to deal with that. Closing down all nuclear activity will not do this. It will help the uninformed feel good. It will not make the world a better place. It will make life harder - unless you think that we can make up the deficit from renewables? I suggest you read up on that myth too,

Re:Nuclear != Radioactivity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286474)

The Big Bang was a nuclear explosion

Not true. Not even remotely true. How could the Big Bang be a nuclear explosion? We have no direct knowledge of what existed prior to the Big Bang. There is nothing to suggest that it was nuclear, indeed most theories go along the lines of it being a reaction of pure energy. How can you call a release of energy from a state of pure energy "nuclear" when, by definition a nuclear reaction requires there to be atoms, and therefore matter is beyond me.

Re:First in a long line I hope! (1)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286440)

Wow. I was going to respond to all Dr.Bob's detractors with a great big Whoosh! I interpreted his post as sarcasm. I'm glad I looked at his post history first.

Re:First in a long line I hope! (1)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286554)

Given that effectively all of our energy (aside from a comparatively small amount of geothermal) is produced in a very, very large nuclear reactor, to which we have been exposed on a daily basis since life began, I guess you've just explained all disease! Good thing too-we had it long before we were "out of the trees", or "in the trees"-even single-celled organisms die.

What they don't die of is "subluxations", because there's no such thing. Honestly, I hope you're a troll. The alternative is far worse-that you're really one of the people who's out there selling this shit to people, and keeping them from getting real treatment in some cases. But whether you're personally a troll or not, there really are people who do that. It's not funny-they kill people and in the meantime make a fortune selling snake oil to the gullible and the desperate.

Of course, if you had any real interest in science, you'd know that coal power causes thousands upon thousands of deaths a year-not from "subluxations", but from the harmful chemicals it releases into the atmosphere. And we may see its death toll rise precipitously once the full effects of climate change begin to be felt, though I certainly hope that will not be the case. And right now, if you're not doing nuclear as your baseline, you're doing coal or natural gas. There isn't enough stable energy potential in solar or wind yet, and they're not cost-effective on a massive scale.

Right now, nuclear is our best option. It should be carefully regulated, and perhaps some older plants do need to be given the choice between mandatory upgrade and shutdown. What we shouldn't do is throw a technology out that can work properly because someone misused and failed to maintain it.

But, of course, you're a quack (or you're a troll playing one). So what do you care about reality, anyway, in either case?

By coincidence... (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286098)

France has stated that it will open several new nuclear reactors before 2022, and will increase the amount of power that it exports to Germany.

Re:By coincidence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286120)

The Netherlands will do the same, next to the German border...

With the dominant West-wind in western europe, nuclear fallout will most probably head in the direction of Germany.

So they're fucked anyway...

Re:By coincidence... (3, Funny)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286168)

The Netherlands will do the same, next to the German border...

With the dominant West-wind in western europe, nuclear fallout will most probably head in the direction of Germany.

So they're fucked anyway...

Hah, we'll simply build our windpower turbines on the other side of the border, and throw them in reverse when something happens.

Re:By coincidence... (4, Funny)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286260)

But with all the nuclear plants down, what's gonna power the wind turbines?

Re:By coincidence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286386)

But with all the nuclear plants down, what's gonna power the wind turbines?

Farting...generated from Sauerkraut!

Re:By coincidence... (1)

altagir (259584) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286122)

So let's not risk anything on our territory. Our kind and over-nuclearised french neighboor will kindly produce for us. All safe now.

Re:By coincidence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286136)

Yep, same thing that would happen to most countries doing this at this point. Importing more nuclear and/or fossil-based power. Only real difference is the transfer of jobs and resources to the countries providing the electricity.

Re:By coincidence... (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286394)

For the smaller EU countries it would probably represent a net savings to import from France rather than refurbishing their small nuclear industry and having to deal with waste management and regulation ... the wish to have a nuclear industry often has more to do with nationalism than economics, it's a hold over from decades ago.

France has comparative advantage.

Re:By coincidence... (5, Informative)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286194)

Currently france is not exporting relevant amounts of power to germany. In fact before the 7 reactors got shut down a few weeks ago, germany had an overcapacity of 40% and exported power to european countries.
Ofc due to grid load, maintanance of power plants or economic considerations there is also power imported all the time from everywhere in europe.
That is just how the grid works.

You know, a steel plant is unexpectingly shutting down. The power plant which is planned in to feed it has now a large surplus. Running it on 50% of its capacity is not economical. So you shut it down to standby and buy the power from France or Slovakia.

Also power export and import is in a large scale directly to end customers. It is not that "germany" is buying power in France. It is that the Steel Company XYZ in Duisburg is doing so. Or that the cooling houses of Food Company ABC in Munich is buying power from Norway.

angel'o'sphere

It's CO2, not gigawatts (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286544)

Maybe so, but when they close down their nuclear plants, Germany will have trouble meeting its CO2 emissions targets. The problem is not so much about generation capacity (anyone can build coal-fired stations), but doing so within agreed targets

Re:By coincidence... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286224)

This isn't necessarily true. If you had the chance to follow the discussions in Germany there are quite a few people who support the notion that Germany only has to increase the output of its existing power plants (coal, etc) to meet the needs. Germany actually exports energy nowadays. Furthermore, one of the nuclear power plants will be on cold standby so that it's possible to start if it if the energy consumption during winter is too high.

Serious question; (5, Insightful)

cablepokerface (718716) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286128)

Where does the power come from then!?

The government must now determine how it can make up the difference with renewable energy sources, natural gas and coal-fired plants.

I mean, really? That'll end up being 90% coal at the very least. I love sentiment driven politics, It's crappy, but waaay more interesting.

Re:Serious question; (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286160)

Actually it'll be 90% coal in terms of actual production but it'll be 90% wind power in terms of communications.

Re:Serious question; (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286240)

Well, give the fact that already 17% of our energy comes from renewable sources I kinda doubt it. Nuclear only has about 23% in Germany and we are exporting about 40% of our energy.

Re:Serious question; (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286556)

17% is not very encouraging considering the 21000 wind turbines that are installed in Germany.

Re:Serious question; (-1, Flamebait)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286262)

That'll end up being 90% coal at the very least.

Not so hasty, now. They'll also throw up even more PV panels and a few wind turbines to keep the Econmentals happy. As long as nobody tells them that the coal plant hidden in the next valley needs to keep burning as well for when the wind drops or a cloud covers the sun, they'll keep happily knitting yoghurt and voting for whichever party pretends to pander to them the most. Ignorance truly is bliss.

Please, whatever you do, nobody change the question from "How much more energy are we generating from dolphin-friendly sources" to "How much less fossil fuels are we burning". You might not like the answer very much.

Re:Serious question; (3, Informative)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286272)

Re:Serious question; (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286360)

While that fact is interesting and unexpected, it only applies until something goes wrong. When something goes wrong, the coal plant is not sitting on loads of extra radioactivity to be released suddenly. A nuclear plant is.

Re:Serious question; (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286450)

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2006/11/perceived_risk_2.html

Re:Serious question; (4, Interesting)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286432)

Will you stop regurgitating that ancient crap, please?

This is a quote of a 1978 study, commissioned by the nuclear lobby and performed by a nuclear laboratory, and it only states that a certain unfiltered coal plant may have insignificantly more "radioactive" particles within about a mile downwind from the chimney during times of normal operation. Your generation doesn't remember this, but at the time it was projected that the requirements for filters on the chimneys will bankrupt the coal power generation like, totally, and that we'll be running on nuclear within very short time.

Since then many things happened, one of them being stringent air quality laws all over the developed world.

Wonder why nobody has repeated this study to validate its outcome?

Re:Serious question; (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286560)

because the pro-nuclear lobby like to talk down arrogantly to everyone who doesnt want to cuddle nukes, and totally misleading bullshit like this is the depths to which they often stoop.
Remember when they claimed nuclear power would be 'too cheap to meter'
hahahahahahahaha

with the security, decomissioning and waste costs added up and factored in correctly, nuclear power is BY FAR the most expensive way to generate power.

Re:Serious question; (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286446)

they will just buy natural gas from that nice Mr Putin - I am sure they can out bid the former warsaw pact counties but hey who cares if a few Slavs freeze to death in the winter

Re:Serious question; (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286570)

Precisely, most natural gas comes from Russia (play politics with energy) and there's precious little solar or wind power to be had in Germany to make up the difference. So it will be coal or imports.

In a similar vein in the US we are struggling with nuclear alternatives an attempting to make up the difference with half-baked renewable schemes and natural gas. Much like our vaunted space program, I expect nuclear to end up in the dust bin of history for most Western nations. The technological revolution in energy and space initiatives will come from China and other nations.

so just how many (3, Interesting)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286130)

Tsunamis and earthquakes has Germany had in lets say the last 1000 years :-)

Re:so just how many (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286230)

Don't know about the last 1000 years, but the german Wikipedia lists 8 with a magnitude >= 4,5 since 2002.

Where are the fuksters now ? (-1, Troll)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286134)

when we said germany was going to end nuclear power, a lot of nuclear power morons were going 'wank wank wank, yelp yelp yelp' and talking tough and condescending, saying it was impossible, germany was just reviewing, this that, just like in this fashion.

where are those idiots now ?

now speaking of which, i guess the same idiots were doing the same blabbering about swiss setting out to end nuclear power.

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/11/05/22/1351235/Swiss-To-End-Use-of-Nuclear-Power [slashdot.org]

Re:Where are the fuksters now ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286236)

These idiots know that it's just politicians talking bullshit. It's not the first time a German government agreed on plans to end nuke power. One of the following governments simply ignored these plans and did whatever the nuke lobby wanted.

2022 is a long time away. By then the current concerns caused by Fukushima will be forgottten and corporations will have had enough time to bribe coming generations of politicians to delay/cancel the whole shebang once more.

It's just the usual "pandering to voters today, forgotten tomorrow" political fraud.

Re:Where are the fuksters now ? (-1, Troll)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286270)

so STILL going on about the same bullshit attitude ? 'nuclear power will never end' ? what's with this nuclear power morondom ?

Re:Where are the fuksters now ? (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286264)

It's a victory for environmentalists worldwide. We all knew Fukushima could be successfully exploited to make positive changes elsewhere. You just wait, Fukushima will be the gift that just keeps on giving. In the future, any pro-nuclear arguments will be answered with "But...Fukushima!" Let's all pour a pint of naturally brewed reinheitsgebot beer and celebrate!

Re:Where are the fuksters now ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286326)

the catch is, that gift that keeps on giving has the possibility of giving way too much to make any such discussion pointless, if we have more serious problems.

Re:Where are the fuksters now ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286418)

Just you wait, in less than a decade all of you will have to buy power from China, which is the only country presently building new generation of nuclear reactors.

Here's to hoping (1)

EvilAlphonso (809413) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286138)

They will actually be able to replace those 23% of the energy production in the meantime without increasing the energy costs too much... difficulty: the price for 2011 will already be about 50% higher than 2010 according to my energy supplier (announced a few weeks ago, before this decision).

Re:Here's to hoping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286188)

By 2022 I expect solar to be taking up the slack. We'll hit grid parity by 2016 or so, another 6 years should see the cost per watt much lower.

Re:Here's to hoping (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286454)

I agree to a point ... but where will we put those panels? Even Spain's weather is a bit too variable. Northern Africa is relatively close by and ideal ... but the political stability is a problem. I've said it before ... we should really have let Morocco into the EU from the start. It would have made a transition to solar power so much easier :/

Re:Here's to hoping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286504)

I expect unicorn shit to take over all my energy needs by 2018.

I say we (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286142)

give Germany some nuclear power, in the form of an ICBM delivered directly to their most populous city... and then we go fuck those charred Nazi asses.

Re:I say we (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286182)

Ahh, the American mind....

Re:I say we (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286328)

After a quick glance through history, it would appear that the French are more likely to have such thoughts, or even the Russians.. The Americans carried a fairly strong and friendly business relationship with the Germans throughout the war. Only the zombie public had any animosity..

Re:I say we (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286374)

There's no "most populous city" in germany. It's all autobahns with exits to small villages.

Re:I say we (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286522)

1. If we were to choose the nuclear option, it would not be 'delivered' to their most populous city. Instead, it would be delivered to a secondary city ... we didn't drop Little Boy or Fat Man on Tokyo, after all. The goal is not to kill people, but just to prompt surrender.

2. We are not at war with Germany any longer - such an attack would be an act of aggression, and not tolerated by the rest of the world.

3. Obama is the Commander in Chief, and would not sign off on such a plan - this is the territory you need to worry about if Palin were to inherit the White House.

good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286146)

The more countries follow their lead the cheaper it will be for us to double our nuclear capacity.

Retards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286150)

Airplanes kill more people a year than nuclear energy killed in total. However, airplanes are "safe" and nuclear energy is "terribly dangerous".

Re:Retards (4, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286220)

As a rational personal driven by science rather than sentiment and sensationalism, I am of two minds.

On one, there's no reason to necessarily fear well operated nuclear power plants. Unfortunately, we hear countless stories of power plants that are not being maintained and funded properly and with poor operational and maintenance attention. Hardly the place where you want to skimp.

On the other hand, with your plane analogy . . . when a plane goes seriously bad, it kills some people on board. Maybe kills a couple people on the ground. Maybe spills some fuel all over the ground in a biggish area. I'm not sure when the last plane crashed (that wasn't carrying nuclear material) which resulted in tens of miles around it's crash site being unlivable for multiple lifetimes, possibly contaminating vast food and water supplies, and reaching potentially dangerous levels hundreds or thousands of miles away, with the air currents.

It's very hard, even with statistics, to mentally overcome the sheer potential damage of a nuclear plant gone really wrong. It's like saying "hey, the mutually assured destruction policy between America and Russia actually kept us safe for so many decades, because we both had tens of thousands of warheads pointed at each other that could wipe away all life on earth in an hour, but that sheer fact meant nobody would ever do it". Only . . . the reality is that on more than one occasion, we came seriously fucking close to letting nukes loose on the other guy due to human error. Flocks of geese being mistaken for a flight of warheads over the ocean. Test missiles being mistaken for a strike (because of human error; not notifying people higher up that it was occurring and that it should not be taken as an attack).

All it takes is one fuck up and we're a species that is as capable of mind-shattering fuck-ups as we are raw ingenuity.

So, while I tend to want to say "hurrah! clean, safe, cheap, awesome nuclear power!", there's another part of me that says "let's not".

Re:Retards (1)

ebuck (585470) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286366)

Hearing of countless stories isn't the same thing as countless of nuclear power plants actually having issues with poor operational and maintenance attention. I mean, here is a plant in Japan, and it has ran like a top, and the containment in case of disaster did it's job. What part of lacklustre maintenance and attention played a part in creating the disaster, worsening its effects on the plant, or promoting the release of radation?

We have had one plant truly mess up, one almost mess up, and one hit by a natural disaster so large it defies reason that the plant managed to contain. In response, it seems we reward these efforts with a nuclear scare story every fifteen minutes. I know I'm exaggerating, but it seems that the scales are tipped way too far in directions that don't foster actual improvement.

Re:Retards (0)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286482)

You don't even need to do mental experiments. The fallout of Chernobyl still lingers today. I was researching Belarus (financial related) and learned that to this day 20% of its farmland is STILL unusable. We are not even talking about Chernobyl and surrounding areas. We are talking about being a neighbor.

"A Russian publication, Chernobyl, concludes that 985,000 excess deaths occurred between 1986 and 2004 as a result of radioactive contamination."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster [wikipedia.org]

This is the core problem. Imagine in Central Europe a reactor going down, imagine if huge tracts of Europe became unusable like Belarus. That would be a disaster beyond proportions! It would be that at least 80 million people will become instantly homeless!

Nuclear in its current form is not a solution...

Re:Retards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286288)

Airplanes kill more people a year than nuclear energy killed in total. However, airplanes are "safe" and nuclear energy is "terribly dangerous".

Depends on your definition of killed. If you count people killed by radiation during a nuclear disaster then yes. If you include the tens of thousands of deaths due to cancer, the miscarriages, stillbirths and medically necessary abortions all caused by long term fallout through much of Europe as a result of Chernobyl then no, that is not true at all. Not to mention the thousands of people who live with birth defects, survive cancer after suffering through treatment..

And all this ignores one fact. With the rare exceptions where a crashing plane lands on you (rare because air traffic routes are designed around populous areas) then you will only die in a plane crash if you choose to fly on a plane. With nuclear fallout you will suffer because someone built within 50 miles of you, or because you live downstream of it. Or because the wind was blowing the wrong way that week. The power plant may well not even be in the same country as you.

Wrong headline (1)

nyri (132206) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286186)

The headline should read:

Germany To End Nuclear Power By 2022 yet again

Politicians are good at two things: making large strategic decisions that do not require anything now but much in not-so-near future and apologizing stuff that their predecessors have made. This decision will be repealed; nothing to see here, move along.

Complete and Total Over-reaction (4, Insightful)

Huntr (951770) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286196)

The circumstances that contributed to the failings at Fukushima are not similar to the situation surrounding nuclear plants in Switzerland or Germany. This is nonsense.

They want to improve their use of renewables, awesome. They should keep the nuke plants while boosting efforts on wind, solar, and hydro. Ramping up reliance on fossil-fueled energy while waiting for those other technologies to get to where we need them to be is foolish.

Re:Complete and Total Over-reaction (4, Informative)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286252)

Germany also has an issue with their nuclear waste. They've discovered that their clever "metal barrels in a salt mine" scheme wasn't as water-tight as they thought.

It's not just the reactor that's a threat, there's also the toxic garbage.

Re:Complete and Total Over-reaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286526)

Fukujima may have been the catalyst, but it's worth remembering that 25 years after Chernobyl there are still parts of Germany where game animals (boar and deer), fish, mushrooms and berries are too highly irradiated to be considered safe to eat [wikipedia.org] . We're talking about Caesium-137 levels that exceed EU limits by a factor of ten or more. Yes, that has been covered in the news, too.

No, falling back to fossil plants will not necessarily be a better choice and may in fact be less safe, but getting rid of nuclear plants is not a "complete and total over-reaction", either. There are considerable risks associated with nuclear plants that a reasonable person cannot just ignore, either.

Merkel, listen! I'm NOT scared of nuclear energy! (1)

rastos1 (601318) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286216)

Apparently, people make the right choice only after all other options were exhausted.
--
signed: rastos, citizen of EU.

Brutal (2)

KiwiCanuck (1075767) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286218)

Overreaction due to a disaster by a reactor that should have never been built in the first place. It should be common sense to never build a device that cannot be tuned off (or 3 months to turn off). There are other nuclear reactor designs that can be turn off quickly. Banning the entire industry without a proper review is stupid.

Re:Brutal (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286282)

Please tell me of any current commercial nuclear reactor in the World that can be turned off immediately?

ALL of them heat some medium and power turbines this way. ALL of them need several months/years of cooling, thermal or nuclear, before they can be shut down or dismantled.

Re:Brutal (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286346)

True, but there is a political side-effect of the people who design these reactors naming them based on the technology they use to generate power. It means a poorly conceived nuclear reactor at Fukishima tars every other nuclear reactor with the same brush - even if the design means that it doesn't suffer from the same problems.

What would make far more sense would be to rename a bunch of nuclear reactors "Super Happy Perfectly Safe Generators"

Let me see... (4, Interesting)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286228)

Oil is likely to run out or become very expensive during the next few decades, if plug in hybrids and electric cars is the most likely replacement for gasoline ( and it seems to be the case at the moment ) then much more electricity will be needed.

Environmental concerns mandate a large reduction in the use of coal for electricity.
EU-member states have committed to such reductions through several treaties and
directives, and it is unlikely that they will simply be dropped.

Wind cannot contribute a majority of electricity generation out of load levelling concerns.

Solar is prohibitively expensive and only does well in Germany due to strong economic
incentives that would be very costly to scale. It also doesn't work during the night, and large
scale energy storage is prohibitively expensive.

Scaling bio-mass to supply a nation the size of Germany would have a dramatic environmental
impact associated with its cultivation, growth and combustion. It is presently very expensive for
applications other than heating, and the more advanced bio-fuels (cellulosic ethanol ) that actually
seem feasible are still experimental. Brazil kinda makes etanol from sugar cane work, but it is
dubious if the practice would be sustainable outside of tropical climates.

So basically unless they overturn this decision it seems likely that Germany will end up importing
electricity or making themselves reliant on Russian natural gas. This is what happens when you make
policy based on populism and wishful thinking rather than reality.

Re:Let me see... (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286322)

Exactly, ethanol only works in Brazil because they have such large amounts of sugar domestically. So fuels like butanol (or other forms of ethanol production like you mentioned) which are getting closer to being viable either need to actually make it to market in 5 years like they keep telling us or large scale energy storage needs to suddenly become much much cheaper.

Butanol would probably be better than ethanol at least in the short term since it is virtually a drop in replacement for gasoline but what is the replacement for diesel? The bio-diesel I've seen is just reprocessed discarded oil from other processes...

Re:Let me see... (1)

ebuck (585470) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286408)

Until people stop believing in electrical genies that can hold vast amounts of power in a thimble, they can't think about the problem rationally because they believe electric is the portable power solution. Electricity is great, but even if you replaced the entire interior of your car with the best battery technology, it wouldn't be but a few percent of the energy stored in your gas tank.

Yes, it is getting better, and there is hope that one day it will be "good enough" for the task at hand; however, a 200% improvement of 3% is only 6%. We have a long way to go, and we're fighting physics.

Re:Let me see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286566)

a 200% improvement of 3% is only 6%

Sorry, pet peeve. This way of saying it makes no sense; it would refer to no change at all as "a 100% improvement".

Re:Let me see... (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286528)

What most people ignore (but that a LOT more people should be focusing on) is energy efficiency. We should be making it MUCH easier for consumers to compare running costs of everything from air conditioners to plasma TVs to George Foreman grills so they can make an informed decision based on how much electricity those devices need.

If people could see how much the running costs were on the Sony TV vs the LG TV vs the Samsung TV, they are likely to factor that into their purchasing decisions.
Even more so for high energy use products like hot water systems, fridges, freezers, washing machines, clothes dryers, dish washers, ovens and air conditioners

Then what ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286232)

How exactly do they intend to meet their power req after ?

Not exactly well thought out... (4, Interesting)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286234)

So their plan is to shutdown domestic nuclear power production without, from what I see, a corresponding increase in production from coal, gas, or "green" power sources. This means they'll be importing from places like France who are increasing their power production. While this is less of a concern now that they're all part of the warm and fuzzy EU brotherhood but Germany is handing the French (and any other country that will be doing the same, such as say the Netherlands) leverage in future negotiations.

The only way I see this really working in the long term is if the EU becomes more of a Federalist system with the EU taking on the role of the Federal Government and the Member Nations taking on the role of the component states. Ultimately I think that may be a decent idea, obviously with more independence for the Member Nations than the states enjoy in the USA but with potential benefits. Keep in mind at this point it is purely idol speculation with no real knowledge on the issues this would generate or hurdles that would have to be jumped.

Concern (3, Interesting)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286244)

Natural gas and coal-fired power plants are not responsible alternatives to nuclear energy. Nuclear power does not belch out carbon monoxide and green house gases. By eschewing nuclear energy and blanketing as unsafe without looking into the technical problems and improving them, we may be headed down a entirely different wrong path. It seems like politicians the world around are excellent at making "large strategic decisions" without a clear, viable alternative. What about nuclear fusion? Where are we in that development?

Re:Concern (-1)

12dec0de (26853) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286410)

Well, Gas and Coal (which are not the intended replacements) at least don't remain a deadly menace for ten times longer than man has walked this planet until now. And on the matter of greenhouse gas emissions: Germany did sign the Kyoto Accord and at least is in roughly the right region to fullfill what it promised. Other major industrial nations did neither sign, nor even have a plan on what to do.

He, who is without sin shall throw the first stone.

Re:Concern (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286428)

Nuclear fusion is 20 to 40 years away. Just like it always was.

The problem remains ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286248)

Whether they end generating new nuclear power or not, the radioactive waste already generated will remain.

I'm starting to loose my faith in humanity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286284)

I propose an alternative to democracy: weighted democracy.

It would play out like this: Ministers, senators, presidents et al. gets the boot. The government is replaced by people who carry out the will of the people. The government is not allowed to propose changes, only the citizenry is. Changes to stuff are ALL voted upon by the people.

And last but not least: People will have to pass a fucking popquiz about the subject they're voting on before their vote counts!

Re:I'm starting to loose my faith in humanity... (1)

siride (974284) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286404)

This is close to the worst way to make a government in the modern era.

Re:I'm starting to loose my faith in humanity... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286490)

I'm starting to loose my faith in humanity...

You've already lost your voting rights.

If it's down to coal or nuclear... (5, Insightful)

Khenke (710763) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286306)

If I had to choose between burning coal and fission reactors, I'd keep the nuclear.

Yeah, I know people are scared because of what have happened in Japan, but I STILL rather have 100 nuclear plant in my backyard with a 0.0001% chance of killing or making me sick than one coal plant that are 100% sure to be bad (1) for my health.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil_fuel_power_station [wikipedia.org] : The combustion of coal contributes the most to acid rain and air pollution, and has been connected with global warming.

Nuclear power, so dangerous! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286320)

Meanwhile coalmining and coal is killing tens of thousands every year.

right choice (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286368)

i visited a nuclear power plant in northern germany last year. and i am glad, that this is been shut down. that 70ies tech does not shine anymore. and i talked to the control room employee what extra education he has. well there is a one year course and here is the funny part, nobody fails in this course.

This is a good thing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286384)

Without these kind of far-sighted policies, Europe would eventually be thrust back into war. I mean, look at how Germany already dominates the EU's financial decisions. After a few more decades, German power would be so great that a coalition of other nations would have to form an alliance to restore the balance of power. Terrible wars would result.

Germany is doing us all a favor by learning from the positive example of the Hongxi Emperor. By burning the fleet of their power generating capability, Germany's future will be more like China: waning influence followed by foreign colonization. Kudos to them for taking the peaceful way out!

So which stock should I buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286438)

EDF stock or german coal mines stock ? Stock price probably adjusted by now, so maybe I should buy stocks from companies proving tratment for asthma in Germany ?

Smart move. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286442)

I actually kind of like nuke power. it's pretty safe. its cheap. its easy to put just about anywhere.

However... The worst case failure mode for a nuclear power plant is much much MUCH worse than anything else save perhaps hydro. And even then if the hydro dam fails and wipes out everything downstream... well you can go back in and rebuild now. not in 10,100,1000,10000 years when the place isnt 'hot' anymore.

Arguments could be made for coal that it contaminates a much wider area over the entire time it's running.
But people don't work like that. They see that one day this land was fine. And the next day after a nuke disaster. It's now super fucked for a great many years.
Where coal is a gradual fuck of the entire area. Not quite as noticable. And you CAN put alot of work into cleaning coal stack output. We just never really have. Yet.

Anywhere the epic fuckups of humans and the epic fuckups of nature can wipe out an entire chunk of land for decades... Is most likely something we shouldnt allow to happen. And that means not using nuke power till we're much much more capable of preventing worst case failures. And we're a long time from that just due to plain human greed and shortsightedness.

Good for germany.

It is not about Fukushima. It is the waste. (3, Insightful)

Vario (120611) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286480)

While the reasoning of Merkel's government seems to be based on fear and emotions of the general public the background behind this is the nuclear waste.

Fukushima is just an example that a complex technology like nuclear power can fail, even with a lot of safeguards in place and in a high-tech country like Japan. It is now obvious that Tepco did not do their homework correctly and that it is just a bad idea in general to build a power plant where a tsunami can hit the shore but this is only the catalyst for the debate in Germany. The main problem is and will be in the future the massive amounts of nuclear waste, with high and medium radiation levels. The situation in Germany for waste disposal is abysmal. In the 1960s due to political issues only two underground mines were seriously examined if they can keep the waste safe for eternity until the radiation levels are low enough to be harmless. These two mines are Asse and Gorleben.

It is now very clear that during the last decades a lot of negative security reports for both mines were downplayed or never published. Asse is currently more or less flooded from groundwater penetrating the salt and while Gorleben seems safe today serious cracks have been discovered. So there is no place in Germany were we could safely store nuclear waste at all. The consensus was for a while to search for better places and it was obvious that any politician will fight tooth and nail against a mine in his district.

At the same time Germany tries to increase the amount of renewable energy and is quite successful. Merkel's current move is certainly not completely ruled by reason but it fits into the bigger picture and the last thing she wants is large demonstrations and her being seen as a cold technocrat which almost brought her a defeat in the last election.

While I personally like nuclear power much more than polluting the air with coal power plants, were the emissions also contain a lot of radioactivity and of course CO2 it feels irresponsible to use a technology as long as the waste problem is completely unsolved, at least in Germany.

Major chance for proving viability of renewables (1)

SD-Arcadia (1146999) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286488)

This is a groundbreaking turn from the country already leading the world in renewable energy.
The question is now, what combination of sources will replace the nuclear piece of the energy pie.
Currently nuclear stands at 22% and renewables at 17% in Germany. I reccomend the literature here [eurosolar.de] for anyone who doubts renewables (solar, wind, geothermal, small hydro, biomass) are up to the task of displacing fossil and nuclear. Especially check out Hermann Scheer's "Energy Autonomy".
As a bonus, this will be a chance to dispel illusions regarding the technical viability of thorium, fast breeder reactors, fusion and other nuclear chymeras.
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