Rumblings Of A German Nuclear Revival?

  • Date: 07/02/14
  • Smart Planet blog

Could German public opinion be swinging toward a revival of nuclear energy – the power source from which the country withdrew following Japan’s tragic Fukushima tsunami and earthquake nearly three years ago?

A recent story in the Financial Times might indicate “yes.”

Reporting on remarks made by the country’ influential finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, at a recent Brussels gathering of European Union financial chiefs, the FT wrote:

“Wolfgang Schäuble took issue with claims that the ‘green economy’ will be a major driver of employment, saying Berlin’s decision two years ago to shutter its nuclear power plants and emphasise renewables needed to be re-examined.”

Note the presence of “shuttering nuclear” and “re-examined” in the same sentence (also note that the decision was closer to three years ago than the two that the FT reports, but not to quibble). The phrasing is the FT’s, and not Schäuble’s per se. The story does not include a direct quote from him mentioning nuclear by name, although he does say of the shift toward renewables:

“We did it too good and now we have to correct because otherwise we have an increasing of energy costs which will harm jobs in Germany in a serious way in the medium term. Therefore, we have to rebalance.”

Germany’s energy prices have indeed risen to help finance a move toward more renewables that replace some of the vanquished nuclear.

The country has also switched on a lot more coal-burning electricity plants, a move that is pushing up CO2 emissions. Nuclear generation, which had accounted for about a quarter of the country’s electricity, is CO2-free.

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