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Seven German Nuclear Plants to Shut Down

Seven German Nuclear Plants to Shut Down

Seven nuclear power plants are going to be shut down for several months due to concerns about their safety. The measure was inspired by the  nuclear plant problems in Japan, and the uncertainty surrounding the safety issues. The seven plants in Germany were built before 1980 and there is some sentiment they require extra safety inspections to ensure against problems. (Two of the older plants are already shut down; one for maintenance, and the other was taken offline in 2007 due to an accident.) There is currently no emergency situation in Germany related to the plants; it is a precautionary measure, and the two already down may never be restarted.

A decision by the German government some years ago targeted a shutdown of all their nuclear plants by 2021, but that was overturned and the plants were granted another twelve years to operate. Ten nuclear power plants there are still in operation with no problems. During the three month moratorium, fossil fuels like coal are going to have to make up the difference for energy production. The government and anti-nuclear activists have been engaged in a debate about the country’s nuclear plants for a number of years. It appears the oldest nuclear plants may be retired, depending on the safety reviews that will be conducted, with results known in June.  About a quarter of the country’s electricity comes from nuclear.

Nuclear power accidents there have taken place in 1975, 1986, and 1987. In 1986 radiation was leaked at the Hamm-Uentrop facility to the surrounding four square kilometers. In 1987 at Biblic Nuclear power plant a valve problem caused a radiation leak. In 1975 at Greifswald a partial meltdown was caused by an electrical error.  Germany currently has over six percent of their energy generated by wind power. One of their states, Saxony-Anhalt, gets over forty percent of their electricity from that renewable source.  Besides accidents, another potential problem with nuclear power plants (although extremely unlikely) is terrorist attacks that damage them intentionally to release radiation, or a takeover for the same purpose.

Image Credit: Christian Horvat

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138 comments

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2:19PM PDT on Jul 5, 2011

This is logical!!!

4:01PM PDT on Jun 15, 2011

My first impression is to be glad but assuming that Germany is still using the same amount of electricity I am left wondering if they are now burning more coal/oil instead. Nuclear power is dangerous, of that there is no doubt, but what we must do is to find alternative sources, or better still, reduce the demand.

12:04AM PDT on May 29, 2011

I hope this will stand as an example to US and other countries to take stock and do the same.

5:35PM PDT on May 8, 2011

The Germans are quite smart!

5:15AM PDT on Apr 12, 2011

Let's wait and see what they decide after the security moratorium. Following a Campac Action inspired by the lobbyism, I and many others promised to pay 5 EUR to each parliament delegate voting for closing down definitely and eternally 7 oldest nuclear plants. Great idea: mass lobbyism. In Germany we say "many small animals together can also can make a big shit". However, our neighbours France and Netherlands refuse to learn and are planning new NP's.
Suzie, Germany

8:55AM PDT on Mar 24, 2011

no to nukes thx

6:29PM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

no nukes

2:13PM PDT on Mar 21, 2011

This TEMPORARY shutdown due to safety issues, and a previous history of accidents, is a good argument against closing nuclear power plants worldwide.

1:43PM PDT on Mar 19, 2011

Great news! Let's hope other nations take heed.

5:58AM PDT on Mar 19, 2011

Are you kidding, what kind of commie crap is this? How dare they include themselves in western American democratic er, ah corporate society.

This clearly flies in the face of corporate and private interest profits. Why would you EVER consider proactive, long term motives over short term profit ones? How are the few to lord over the masses?

And why would anyone want to learn from past mistakes, yours or that of others? That smacks of scientific methodology, like Darwinism, its anti religious, everything we need to know was written down thousands of years ago, you just have to listen and do what your told.

Oh, so they think public health and safety, and stemming against short and long term environmental damage are so damn important that they would shut down energy production. How the hell are you supposed to keep all the lights, hair dryers, and video games on?

You would have thought that they would have learned by now that you use what you need to satisfy your desires, then move on and take what you need from the next guy. It's called competition...THEY ARE SETTING THE WRONG EXAMPLE, next thing you know it might catch on and we will all be looking out for one another. then what.....

Sorry, couldn't help myself.

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