Will Europe go green without nuclear power?

Germany is closing its nuclear power plants and other European countries want to follow suit. Some ask.

Why is this important?

Nuclear power plants can play a key role in the race for climate neutrality. Europe has not yet decided whether to give nuclear power a green label.

Ten years ago, when the tsunami hit the Fukushima nuclear reactor in northern Japan, Germany decided to phase out 12 of its nuclear facilities. Within a few months, the first power stations were closed. By the end of 2022, the last three will be closed for good.

Germany wants to be carbon neutral by 2045. The European Union aims to achieve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. But can Europe achieve those goals if the largest European economy eliminates nuclear energy? Nuclear-producing European countries emit less carbon dioxide than non-nuclear-producing countries. CO2 emissions per citizen in France are low, as well as high nuclear production.

Other countries, such as Sweden, have been able to reduce emissions without the use of nuclear energy. Most of Sweden’s electricity comes from renewable sources such as hydropower and wind power. The country has windy beaches where wind turbines blow very intensely. Along with nuclear power, they provide more than 60 percent of all energy.

Hungary, which has the lowest CO2 emissions per citizen, has been pursuing a new energy strategy since 2012. The report, entitled “National Energy Strategy for 2030”, significantly increased energy efficiency.

In 2011 most Germans supported this decision, and many more support it. In its report for the parliamentary elections in September, the Green Party, which is likely to win at least 14.5% of the seats in the Bundestag, promised other European countries the elimination of nuclear energy, according to The Economist.

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In July, Germany was said to have received support from Austria, Denmark, Luxembourg and Spain. To date, the EU has not taken an official position.

There is an image problem in nuclear power plants

Most of Germany’s neighbors did not listen. Of the 17 European countries that produce nuclear power, only Britain plans to close power plants soon. Yet the British are still building new power stations. Switzerland has banned the construction of new plants, but existing plants will operate “as long as they are safe”.

Poland, which relies heavily on coal, will begin construction of its first nuclear power plant in 2026. In March, the leaders of the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia wrote to the European Commission to point out that nuclear development in their countries was “disputed by some member states.”

Considering the effects of the German elections and the recent catastrophic floods, global warming will be high on the public agenda. According to well-regulated nuclear experts, it is a stable source of safe and non-emitting electricity. Yet some politicians are reluctant to talk about it.

At most, Armin Lachet, leader of the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU), who is likely to become the next president, has said the country should have poured coal before nuclear power. Extreme right Alternative to Germany The only party proposing to reintroduce nuclear power. For most German politicians the idea of ​​a nuclear change is very dangerous.

Read moreRenewable energy surpassed US coal and nuclear production for the first time. What about us?

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Ferdinand Woolridge

 "Subtly charming analyst. Beer maven. Future teen idol. Twitter guru. Lifelong bacon fan. Pop culture lover. Passionate social media evangelist."

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