• Re: German town bids farewell to nuclear, eyes hydrogen future

    From G@21:1/5 to All on Sun Apr 16 00:27:19 2023
    XPost: alt.energy.nuclear, alt.fan.rush-limbaugh, sac.politics
    XPost: talk.politics.guns

    On 25 Jan 2022, Kurt Nicklas <namblamember@gop.org> posted some news:ssq44b$lva6$123@news.freedyn.de:

    Just Wondering wrote

    Dump it all in Russia!

    LINGEN, Germany (AP) — For 35 years, the Emsland nuclear power plant in northwestern Germany has reliably provided millions of homes with
    electricity and many with well-paid jobs in what was once an agricultural backwater.

    Now, it and the country's two other remaining nuclear plants are being
    shut down. Germany long ago decided to phase out both fossil fuels and
    nuclear power over concerns that neither is a sustainable source of

    The final countdown Saturday -- delayed for several months over feared
    energy shortages because of the Ukraine war -- is seen with relief by
    Germans who have campaigned against nuclear power.

    Yet with energy prices stubbornly high and climate change a growing
    concern, some in the country and abroad are branding the move reckless. As Germany closes nuclear stations, other governments in Europe have
    announced plans to build new ones or have backtracked on commitments to
    shut down existing plants.

    “The Emsland nuclear power plant has indeed contributed significantly to
    the economic development of this region,” says Albert Stegemann, a dairy
    farmer and lawmaker for the opposition Christian Democrats who represents
    the nearby town of Lingen and surrounding areas in the federal parliament.

    Unlike some of his conservative colleagues, Stegemann isn’t worried the
    lights will go out in Germany when the three reactors — Emsland,
    Neckarwestheim II and Isar II — are switched off for good. The closure of
    three other plants in late 2021 reduced nuclear's share of electricity
    produced in Germany to about 5% but didn't result in any blackouts.

    The 47-year-old is also realistic about the lack of support the technology
    has among German voters, though he insists the vast majority of people in Lingen supported the plant.

    “In the long term, nuclear power is certainly not the technology of the
    future. But at this time it would have been good to be able to rely on
    it,” he said.

    Against the backdrop of the Russian attack on Ukraine and the challenges
    of climate change “it would have been wise to think about (delaying the shutdown) another one, two or three years,” Stegemann said.

    “Politicians need to adjust to changed circumstances,” he added. “And I
    accuse the government of not doing that at all.”

    Similar concerns have been raised in other quarters.

    “Right now, existing nuclear plants are a critical source of carbon-free baseload energy,” said Peter Fox-Penner, previously a senior official at
    the U.S. Department of Energy and now with the Boston University Institute
    for Sustainable Energy. “Energy efficiency, wind, and solar energy will
    soon become dominant sources, but in the meantime, it is wisest to
    continue to run existing nuclear," as long as safety is the priority, he

    The government of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has made clear, however,
    that a further extension isn't in the cards.

    “Nuclear power remains a risky technology, and in the end, the risks can’t
    be controlled even in a high-tech country like Germany,” Environment
    Minister Steffi Lemke said at a news conference ahead of the shutdown.

    She cited the disaster at Japan's Fukushima atomic power plant in 2011,
    when a tsunami knocked out the power supply leading to a catastrophic
    meltdown, evoking memories of the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl that remains
    a pivotal event for Germany's anti-nuclear movement.

    While Lemke's environmentalist Green party is most closely linked to that movement, it was former Chancellor Angela Merkel — then leader of
    Stegemann's Christian Democrats — who pulled the plug on atomic energy in Germany following Fukushima. The decision led to a greater reliance on
    fossil fuels that has kept Germany's greenhouse gas emissions stubbornly
    high compared to neighbors such as atom-friendly France.

    At Lingen's modern town hall, Mayor Dieter Krone said there are mixed
    feelings about the imminent nuclear shutdown, which will be marked with a small, closed-doors ceremony inside the plant.

    “For the staff, it will be a moment of sadness” he said, noting that
    Emsland has safely produced electricity for Germany and its neighbors for decades. “On the other hand, it’s the start of a new era because we want
    to get into hydrogen.”

    For the past 12 years, Krone and others have worked to convince public and private partners to invest in what they hope will be a key green fuel of
    the future. The region already produces more renewable energy than it
    consumes and aims to become a hub for hydrogen production using wind and
    solar power in the coming years.

    “We have the big advantage that all the infrastructure, the networks, are there,” he said.

    One of the world's biggest clean hydrogen production facilities is due to
    begin operating in Lingen this fall. Some of it will be used to make
    "green steel," a vital step if Europe's biggest economy wants to become
    carbon neutral by 2045.

    “I believe we are going to become the biggest and most significant
    location in Germany for hydrogen," Krone said. "As such, I do think we can
    say this is a kind of blueprint for development.”

    Critics have warned that without nuclear power, Germany will have to rely
    on dirty coal and gas plants for energy during periods of overcast but
    calm weather — a condition for which Germans have even coined a new term, Dunkelflaute.

    The government has dismissed such concerns, arguing that thanks to
    Europe's integrated electricity network, Germany can import energy when
    needed while remaining a net exporter.

    Lemke has brushed aside suggestions that Germany's no-nuclear policy will hamper efforts to cut the country's emissions.

    “The expansion of renewables remains the cheaper and in particular faster
    path if we want to achieve the climate goals,” she told reporters in
    Berlin earlier this month, pointing to significant delays and cost
    overruns in the construction of nuclear power plants elsewhere in Europe.

    Meanwhile, the price of installing solar and wind energy has dropped significantly in recent years, a trend that is expected to continue.

    Back in Lingen, activist Alexander Vent of the anti-nuclear group AgIEL
    says the shutdown isn't the end of the road for their efforts.

    “We want to stop and commemorate this day. Of course it’s a reason to celebrate," he said. "But for us it’s basically a milestone that’s been reached. We now need to look forward because we see there’s still a lot
    left to do.”

    Campaigners like Vent have now shifted their focus to nearby facilities
    that process nuclear fuel for reactors elsewhere in Europe.

    “We need to stop enriching uranium," he said. "We need to stop producing
    fuel rods for all the nuclear plants outside Germany.”


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