A blog post

Germany turns back on Nuclear

Posted on the 31 May, 2011 at 12:11 pm Written by in Blog, Europe, Government, Technology

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said a decision to phase out nuclear power by 2022 can make her country a trailblazer in renewable energy.

Mrs Merkel set up a panel to review nuclear power following the crisis at Fukushima in Japan. The crisis, triggered by an earthquake and tsunami in March, led to mass anti-nuclear protests across Germany. The anti-nuclear drive boosted Germany’s Green party, which took control of the Christian Democrat stronghold of Baden-Wuerttemberg, in late March.

Before March’s moratorium on the older power plants, Germany relied on nuclear power for 23% of its energy.

Mrs Merkel said that in its “fundamental” rethink of policy, Germany could set an example for other countries.

“We believe we as a country can be a trailblazer for a new age of renewable energy sources,” the German chancellor was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

“We can be the first major industrialised country that achieves the transition to renewable energy with all the opportunities – for exports, development, technology, jobs – it carries with it.”

See the full BBC article

In comparison, the UK Government completed a similar review into the safety of nuclear power generation following the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. They decided to press ahead with plans to replace older nuclear plants in the UK.

DECC states on their website  “that new nuclear power has a key role to play in the UK’s low-carbon future”. They go on to say” The best way to achieve the energy security and affordability our country needs is through a diverse mix of technologies. No one technology can deliver all”.

Germany’s announcement questions this rationale as their intention is to “plug the energy gap” with renewables and improved energy efficiency, rather than nuclear. Germany currently depends on nuclear for 23% of it’s electricity, where nuclear makes up only 18% of the UK’s energy mix.

The question on most people’s lips will likely be “If Germany can do it why can’t the UK?”