July 20, 2011
Germany Trades Domestic Nuclear for Imported Nuclear
Following the Fukushima-Daiichi crisis in Japan, the German government announced plans to abruptly shut down all of its nuclear power capacity by 2017, claiming that it could still achieve its low-carbon energy goals without its installed nuclear power plants. But new analysis from Spiegel Online shows that Germany is now relying on imported nuclear power from France, the Czech Republic, and other neighboring states to replace its prematurely retired capacity. From Spiegel's analysis:
The German government's 180-degree turn in nuclear policy has helped breathe new life into Europe's energy industry -- though not always to Germany's benefit. The country has gone from being an energy exporter to an energy importer practically overnight, which brings along with it a number of negative consequences for its economy, consumers and security.
Since the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, the German government has no longer deemed its nuclear plants sufficiently safe. Instead, foreign facilities that have long been viewed as significantly more dangerous than Germany's are jumping into action to make up for shortfalls in supply.
As the Breakthrough Institute demonstrated in a previous analysis, the German government is unlikely to achieve its low-carbon energy goals without its substantial nuclear capacity. It is now clear that in the short-term, Germany will still rely on (other countries') nuclear power. In the longer-term it will increase its reliance on fossil fuels, as it plans to build 5 GW of new natural gas and 11 GW of coal plants to help replace its nuclear power supply.