Germany is the scene of some of the most vibrant and numerous anti-nuclear activities including protests of waste shipments and reactor relicensing. Although it is supposed to be phasing out nuclear plants, the Merkel government in 2010 agreed to modest license extensions for the country's 17 plants, prompting widespread protests.



How will Germany transition to renewables without using coal and imported nuclear?

How will Germany exit nuclear without using more coal?

Within four decades, one of the world’s leading economies will be powered almost entirely by wind, solar, biomass, hydro, and geothermal power. But can Germany really achieve these targets without resorting to fossil fuels? Some of these questions were recently addressed in a joint article by Arne Jungjohann, Program Director for Environment and Global Dialogue with the Heinrich Böll Foundation and Wilson Rickerson, CEO of Meister Consultants Group. Some excerpts follow: 

“The old nuclear power plants had been a bottleneck for greater investment. With the planned phase out of all nuclear power capacity, investors are lining up to put more renewable energy and high-efficiency natural gas plants in place. Overall, CO2 emissions will not rise as the energy sector has to comply with the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) and the associated emissions cap.”

Germany already had an aggressive renewable energy program in place. For example, “Germany has installed 17,000 MW of PV to date which amounts to more than half of the world’s total, including over 7,400 MW of new PV capacity in 2010 alone. . .The previous target of 30% renewable electricity by 2020 has recently been updated by Germany’s official National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP). The NREAP reveals that the country expects to actually generate 38% of its electricity from renewables by 2020.”

Germany also sees the transition to renewable energy as the most beneficial pathway economically. “As Germany’s Minister of Environment recently stated:

It is economically nonsensical to pursue two strategies at the same time, for both a centralized and a decentralized energy supply system, since both strategies would involve enormous investment requirements. I am convinced that the investment in renewable energies is the economically more promising project. . .

“Three cornerstones will play a crucial role in Germany’s energy transition: an even stronger growth of renewables; the ramp-up of smart grids, efficiency technologies, and battery and storage technologies; and temporary more flexible natural gas.” Read the full article for more information or visit the website of the Heinrich Böll Foundation.


"Germans’ Deep Suspicions of Nuclear Power Reach a Political Tipping Point"

A New York Times "Memo from Berlin" by Alan Cowell examines the roots of Germany's powerfully effective anti-nuclear movement, which has succeeded in reversing Chancellor Angela Merkel's plans to extend operations at 17 atomic reactors. 7 reactors have already been permanently closed in direct response to the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, and the remaining 10 will be shut down for good by 2022.


No nukes in Germany? No problem!

"The German government is combining its push for renewables with a rapid retreat from its existing nuclear assets", write Arne Jungjohann of the Heinrich Böll  Foundation and Wilson Rockerson, CEO of Mesiter Consultants Group. "Following the Fukushima disaster, the German government announced a three-month shutdown of seven of its seventeen nuclear power plants and a review of its nuclear strategy. No blackout followed and national energy supply has remained stable. Germany, in particular, is pursuing a path forward that represents a significant departure from business-as-usual in the US and other countries. Rather than developing nuclear power, Germany is aggressively pursuing renewable energy in combination with innovative new electricity grid management strategies. Interestingly, Germany used to depend much more on nuclear electricity (~30% of national supply in 1999) than the U.S. currently does (~20%)."


License extensions at 17 reactors to be challenged in German constitutional court

Final passage into law of license extensions, till as late as 2034, at 17 German atomic reactors, has been accomplished with the signature of Germany's largely symbolic figurehead president, Christian Wulff. But this has sparked legal objections by Social Democratic Party controlled state governments, which charge it is an unconstitional undermining of a national consensus to close all of the country's atomic reactors by 2022 at the latest. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's overturning of the Nuclear Consensus phase out plan has led to mass protests this year -- over 120,000 people forming a 75 mile long human chain between two nuclear power plants last April; 100,000 protestors in Berlin last September; and 50,000 protestors in November blocking a radioactive waste train and trucks targeted at Gorleben, Germany's centralized interim storage site for high-level radioactive waste, and formerly proposed permanent dumpsite.


Fun new version of Nuclear, No Thanks!

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