May 28, 2012 by SCNCC
In the wake of last years Fukushima nuclear disaster Germany began phasing out its nuclear plants. The country established an ethics commission which wrote in its report that Fukushima “demonstrates the limitations of human disaster-preparedness and emergency measures,” even “in a highly organized, high-tech country like Japan”. Following the commission’s recommendation, Germany has begun weening itself off nukes and moving towards renewable energy. Eight plants were shutdown immediately, and the remaining nine will be shuttered by 2022.
Critics of the atomic phase-out claimed Germany’s carbon emissions, energy imports, and electrical costs would skyrocket. One year into Germany’s journey towards nuke-freedom, the critics have been proven wrong. Electrical bills have remained steady. Rather than being forced to import coal power, Germany has simply exported less energy, reduced consumption by 5%, and compensated for the power generated by nukes with renewables.
On Saturday, 22 gigawatts of solar power flowed into the country’s national grid, a world record. By harnessing the great big reactor in the sky, Germany has so far produced enough power to match 20 atomic plants.
The US sits on 104 aging nuclear plants. Built in the sixties and seventies, with lifespans of forty years, these plants are nearing the grave. But time and time again the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Fukushima has renewed plant licenses leaving the public with Franken-Reactors. The NRC has never denied a relicensing application and is currently exploring ways to keep these reactors operating beyond sixty years, after the renewed licenses expire. It’s time the US goes the way of Germany and takes steps to ensure there are no more Fukushimas.