Bulletin: German nuclear exit delivers economic, environmental benefits

Nov 01, 2012

Following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in 2011, the German government took the nation's eight oldest reactors offline immediately and passed legislation that will close the last nuclear power plant by 2022. This nuclear phase-out had overwhelming political support in Germany. Elsewhere, many saw it as "panic politics," and the online business magazine Forbes.com went as far as to ask, in a headline, whether the decision was "Insane—or Just Plain Stupid."

But a special issue of the , published by SAGE, "The German Nuclear Exit," shows that the nuclear shutdown and an accompanying move toward renewable energy are already yielding measurable economic and environmental benefits, with one top expert calling the German phase-out a probable game-changer for the worldwide.

In his overview article, "From Brokdorf to : The long journey to nuclear phase-out," Princeton researcher Alexander Glaser puts the German nuclear exit in its historical context, which includes massive, civil war-like confrontations between antinuclear demonstrators and police. Because of longstanding to nuclear power, by the 1990s few in German political life seriously entertained the idea of new reactor construction. And, Glaser notes, Germany's decision last year to pursue a nuclear phase-out was anything but precipitous; serious planning to shutter the nuclear industry and greatly expand alternative energy production began more than a decade ago. "Germany's nuclear phase-out could provide a proof-of-concept, demonstrating the political and technical feasibility of abandoning a controversial high-risk technology. Germany's nuclear phase-out, successful or not, is likely to become a game changer for nuclear energy worldwide," Glaser concludes.

Also in the Bulletin's special issue on "The German Nuclear Exit": Freie Universität Berlin politics professor Miranda Schreurs says the nuclear phase-out and accompanying shift to renewable energy have brought financial benefits to farmers, investors, and small business; Felix Matthes of the Institute for Applied Ecology in Berlin concludes the phase-out will have only small and temporary effects on electricity prices and the German economy; University of Kassel legal experts Alexander Rossnagel and Anja Hentschel explain why electric utilities are unlikely to succeed in suing the government over the shutdown; and Lutz Mez, co-founder of Freie Universitӓt Berlin's Environmental Policy Research Center, presents what may be the most startling finding of all. The shift to alternative energy sources being pursued in parallel with the German nuclear exit has reached a climate change milestone, Mez writes: "It has actually decoupled energy from economic growth, with the country's energy supply and carbon-dioxide emissions dropping from 1990 to 2011, even as its gross domestic product rose by 36 percent."

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More information: "The German Nuclear Exit" by John Mecklin published 01November 2012 in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

"From Brokdorf to Fukushima: The long journey to nuclear phase-out", by Alexander Glaser published 01November 2012 in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

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ScooterG
1 / 5 (8) Nov 01, 2012
"German nuclear exit delivers economic, environmental benefits"

Key to believing the lie quoted above is a (faulted) belief system that says government can create wealth.

Never confuse activity with productivity. Government/subsidy-created jobs seldom produce more than they cost.

While a few entities will benefit economically, governmental subsidy of alternative energy is a net money loser. Make no mistake, the $$ difference will be made up by the general public.
kochevnik
3 / 5 (2) Nov 01, 2012
Key to believing the lie quoted above is a (faulted) belief system that says government can create wealth.
Your statement is as absurd as stating that government can never destroy wealth. Moreover governments are corporations in the USA, so you're advocating thievery of public assets.
VendicarD
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 01, 2012
Isn't that exactly what Romney is promising?

He wouldn't be a liar would he?

"Key to believing the lie quoted above is a (faulted) belief system that says government can create wealth." - ScooTard
VendicarD
3 / 5 (4) Nov 01, 2012
Your statement is an admission that Government can create wealth.

"Government/subsidy-created jobs seldom produce more than they cost." - ScooTard

Odd isn't it that you are contradicting your own position.

You dis a foncused little tardlieboy disn't chew?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Nov 01, 2012
Following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in 2011, the German government took the nation's eight oldest reactors offline immediately and passed legislation that will close the last nuclear power plant by 2022.

It should be noted that said legislation had already beeen passed in 2000 and had been overturned only three months prior to Fukushima by the conservatives - a very unpopular move.
After Fukushima they hastily re-overturned their own decision - because by then the move wasn't just unpopular: it was political suicide.
kochevnik
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 01, 2012
A libertarian can always be traced to his bankster handlers when he screams "privatization!", which is simply banksters stealing public assets. Russian had public assets transferred to private hands of criminals under influence of libertarian Harvard economists, which caused a twenty-year depression.
VendicarD
4 / 5 (4) Nov 01, 2012
It looks like those same Libertarian Economists are going to be responsible for an American 30 year long depression.

Americans aren't bright enough to notice.
Jeddy_Mctedder
1.2 / 5 (5) Nov 01, 2012
if you look at why nuclear programs exist---it is to provide nuclear fuel for nuclear weapons.

germany going green may have been a genuine act. alternately, when you realize that these decisions actually are made behind closed doors and not because of 'democracy' and political pandering, you start to realize that germany, as always is between the west and russia.

eventually germany's financial health will be sacrificed for the rest of europe, nato, and ultimately the u.s.
without a viable nuclear industry, germany is throwing away the possibility of making a large nuclear stockpile on its own anytime in the next 50-100 years. without this capacity, germany will never have any leverage against the west----EXCEPT----joining its enemies. this is unlikely, and as the world gets more financially squeezed, germany will become ever more dependent on the west for nuclear protection.

essentially germany is neutering itself militarily.


ScooterG
1.4 / 5 (10) Nov 01, 2012
Does Solyndra ring any bells?
Pressure2
2.3 / 5 (6) Nov 01, 2012
Jeddy, your paranoia is showing. Germany doesn't need nuclear weapons, it's under the "umbrella". Free rides are nice.
kochevnik
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 01, 2012
if you look at why nuclear programs exist---it is to provide nuclear fuel for nuclear weapons.
You DO realize that common nuclear plants don't produce weapons-grade plutonium and they burn a less fissible isotope of uranium?

Your concept of war is outdated. Modern war is fought with capital. Proxy enemies are cultivated through intelligence operations to give the necessary appearance of an enemy, and nations kill their own citizens while blaming their symbolic enemy as a prelude to war. Wars now are about seizing natural resources. The banksters routinely destroy economies and are the true players that determine a nation's prospects. Hence the countries with the most national resources are backward while islands atolls like Japan are highly developed.
rubberman
3 / 5 (4) Nov 01, 2012
"German nuclear exit delivers economic, environmental benefits"

Key to believing the lie quoted above is a (faulted) belief system that says government can create wealth.

Never confuse activity with productivity. Government/subsidy-created jobs seldom produce more than they cost.

While a few entities will benefit economically, governmental subsidy of alternative energy is a net money loser. Make no mistake, the $$ difference will be made up by the general public.


From the last paragraph:"It has actually decoupled energy from economic growth, with the country's energy supply and carbon-dioxide emissions dropping from 1990 to 2011, even as its gross domestic product rose by 36 percent."

Who to believe.....who to believe.....I'll go with the official numbers on this one.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Nov 01, 2012
Germany doesn't need nuclear weapons, it's under the "umbrella". Free rides are nice.

You mean that 'umbrella' that meant that in the case of a russian attack germany (all it) was to be nuked as a means of 'forward defense'? You mean that type of 'umbrella' where French atomic warheads meant to down an onrushing russian air offensive had ranges that would only reach west germany (google for the french Hades missile)?

We never were under any 'umbrella' in germany. We always were to be ground zero if the shit hit the fan.

And let me tell you: When you get wiped out by nuke it makes precious little difference to you whether it's a 'friendly' or 'enemy' type. So don't post this tripe about Europe (and especially germany) ever being under any kind of 'protection'. That was ever only a publicity ad campaign.
VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Nov 01, 2012
An American solar cell company that was taken out by the Chinese dumping solar cells in the U.S.

"Does Solyndra ring any bells?" - ScooTard

Libertarians/Randites and those who follow the stupidity that is the Economic principles of Hayak insist that the bankruptcy of Solyndra due to dumping by the Chinese, was a good thing.

No doubt you agree.

Pressure2
2.3 / 5 (4) Nov 01, 2012
AP: You must have a very short memory. It wasn't that many years ago the main thing standing between the Soviet Union and Western Europe was the military power of the US. Instead of getting offended you should be thanking the US.

PS The US still have troops stationed in Germany as far as I am aware.
Pressure2
1 / 5 (1) Nov 01, 2012
AP: You must have a very short memory. For decades the main thing standing between Western Europe and the former Soviet Union was the military might of the US. Instead of being offended you should be thanking the Americans.

Sorry for the double post, the first post didn't show up until I posted the second one.

ScooterG
1.6 / 5 (7) Nov 01, 2012

From the last paragraph:"It has actually decoupled energy from economic growth, with the country's energy supply and carbon-dioxide emissions dropping from 1990 to 2011, even as its gross domestic product rose by 36 percent."

Who to believe.....who to believe.....I'll go with the official numbers on this one.


Hmmm...alternative energy is cost-effective in Germany but not in the US?? I'd say the German government has manipulated energy costs somewhere...
VendicarD
1 / 5 (1) Nov 02, 2012
Yes, that is the excuse the war mongers use to justify their war mongering.

"For decades the main thing standing between Western Europe and the former Soviet Union was the military might of the US." - Pressure

Thinking people know better.
VendicarD
3 / 5 (2) Nov 02, 2012
Given the spectacular rise in the economic power of Germany since the end of WWII, and given the spectacular collapse of the U.S. during the same time period, it seems obvious to me that the U.S. should look to Germany as a model to emulate.

"Hmmm...alternative energy is cost-effective in Germany but not in the US??" - ScooTard

Those precipitating the collapse of America disagree.
rubberman
1 / 5 (2) Nov 02, 2012

From the last paragraph:"It has actually decoupled energy from economic growth, with the country's energy supply and carbon-dioxide emissions dropping from 1990 to 2011, even as its gross domestic product rose by 36 percent."

Who to believe.....who to believe.....I'll go with the official numbers on this one.


Hmmm...alternative energy is cost-effective in Germany but not in the US?? I'd say the German government has manipulated energy costs somewhere...


Reading comprehension is your friend little vespa, the quote mentions nothing of the cost of energy, just that they managed to use less, emit less and increased gross domestic production....
it's called efficiency. And as Vendi observes, they are going in the right direction.

It may have something to do with the 50 million gas powered recreational vehicles (boats, dirt bikes, snowmobiles) owned for personal non essential use in the US.

IT"S FUN TO GO FAST!!!!
ValeriaT
1.3 / 5 (3) Nov 02, 2012
it seems obvious to me that the U.S. should look to Germany as a model to emulate
Yes, if the USA would be of the size and geopolitical conditions of Germany, then yes. But USA are different country, so they should adopt the model of another countries with caution. For example USA are much bigger country, so that the accidental nuclear plant crash wouldn't pose so big threat for Americans. The Germany definitely couldn't do the nuclear tests on its own area like the USA did in 50's.
bertibus
1 / 5 (1) Nov 02, 2012
@VendicarD - German output and energy use going in opposite directions has absolutely no bearing on the cost effectiveness or otherwise of green energy. The statement is a political one disguised as economics. Corporations in all developed countries are constantly finding ways to do more with less. We're seeing the same de-coupling in the US with a different energy policy.
If Germany wants to go green(er) and also decommision their nuclear plants that's not my business, but it shouldn't be dressed up and presented as something that it isn't.
ScooterG
1.8 / 5 (5) Nov 02, 2012

Reading comprehension is your friend little vespa, the quote mentions nothing of the cost of energy, just that they managed to use less, emit less and increased gross domestic production....
it's called efficiency. And as Vendi observes, they are going in the right direction.
!


And business comprehension eludes you.

All this means is the Germans are becoming more efficient despite having alternative energy costs forced on them. This means the product they sell is over-priced, and that means the consumer is paying the cost difference - exactly what I said in my first post.

Since GDP is up and energy consumption is down, liberals use the opportunity to force additional energy costs on business - since "they obviously can afford it". It's just another way that liberal leaches capitalize on other's hard work.

Liberals and their policies are good for Chinese business.
Anonymous586
2.5 / 5 (2) Nov 02, 2012
What happening in Germany is "Panic politic". Getting rid of nuclear energy completely is just idiotic. It is like when you ride around in a model T and got into an accident because of car problem, you decide to ban all automobile regardless of the fact that we have advance so much in automobile technologies.

The nuclear reactor technologies of the Fukushima reactor is a model T, in fact a defective model T. The design was flaw and they tried to make some retrofit to fix it but it is still flaw.

The latest technologies have passive cooling system that can keep the reactor cool for a week even with power failure. And the new reactor only use 5% enrich uranium instead of 20% on the old model.

I would have understand if they shutdown all the outdated nuclear reactors and install new one with the latest technologies. This just shows how short sighted most people are.
rubberman
2 / 5 (4) Nov 02, 2012
"Getting rid of nuclear energy completely is just idiotic." -anon

Only if it is needed. They have shown it is not.

"And business comprehension eludes you."

"This means the product they sell is over-priced, and that means the consumer is paying the cost difference - exactly what I said in my first post." -vespa

And it was wrong both times. Apparently you need more help with business comprehension than I do....unless you know of people who prefer to purchase overpriced products. You may want to research the longevity of overpriced products in the market....but look after the reading comprehension first.

rubberman
3 / 5 (4) Nov 02, 2012
"The statement is a political one disguised as economics."

The journal reference is "The bulletin of Atomic scientists", published by SAGE publications.....no affiliation with German politics. The only Germans quoted in the article are members of faculty at various german higher education facilities, not politicians. The article isn't about "green energy", it's about efficiency which by default is environmentaly friendly.
VendicarD
1 / 5 (1) Nov 02, 2012
"IT"S FUN TO GO FAST!!!!" - PinkieWinkie

That is why dogs stick their heads out car windows, and why people die in car crashes.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Nov 04, 2012
You must have a very short memory. It wasn't that many years ago the main thing standing between the Soviet Union and Western Europe was the military power of the US. Instead of getting offended you should be thanking the US.

We would have been obliterated by the US or the Russians regardless. Being nuked by one's 'friends' isn't better from being nuked by one's enemies.

I would also urge you to read more history books from other nations. They are as chock full of propaganda as the US ones are, to be sure. But at least you get a feeling for all the propaganda YOU have been fed about the US in school, too.

The 'protector and police' of the world? That is as much BS as the 'evil russian empire'. (And conversely the russian version of 'mother russia' is as much BS as those of the 'evil imperialist US'....though some argument for the 'imperialist' part can be made)
kochevnik
1 / 5 (1) Nov 04, 2012
This means the product they sell is over-priced, and that means the consumer is paying the cost difference
Everything is overpriced to a bum.
Anonymous586
1 / 5 (1) Nov 05, 2012
Rubberman said on 11/02/2012 "Apparently you need more help with business comprehension than I do...."

I am aware of the economic cost of nuclear. The initial capital cost of nuclear is quite expensive but in the long run, it is much cheaper and much better in regard to the global warming issue.

And if it is the capital cost issue that you are worrying about, they have small modular reactor(SMR) in the size of 25 to 250 Megawatts that use the latest 3 generation technology with passive cooling. It has low capital cost and can be build quickly.

Using these small modular reactor(SMR), you can start with one unit that can be completed in a short time, have it up and running, producing electricity and making money while building another small modular reactor(SMR) until it is producing the same amount of power as one big 1000 megawatts nuclear reactor.

And I don't see why we can not reprocess the spent nuclear fuel like france.
kochevnik
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 05, 2012
I am aware of the economic cost of nuclear. The initial capital cost of nuclear is quite expensive but in the long run, it is much cheaper and much better in regard to the global warming issue.
How much does it cost to purchase a new country once your old one is irradiated by your newest failed experiment?

"Latest generation three" means it is the newest, least tested, and thereby the most potentially unknown and lethal.
rubberman
1 / 5 (2) Nov 05, 2012
Anon, the "business comprehension" was a quote from ScooterG, not related to your post, I only mentioned that Germany didn't NEED nuclear in relation to your post. I have heard of the SMR's you mention. Originally invented by a California company, they bury them in a concrete vault in the ground and they can run a town of 25000 (ideal for mining, or construction crews in remote locations) for 15-20 years, once the reactor fuel is exhausted they are powered down and sealed in the concrete, replaced by a new unit laid right beside the spent one.