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Nuclear Energy in France and Germany

Info: 3706 words (15 pages) Essay
Published: 13th Oct 2017 in Politics

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  • Brach Hadean

Nuclear Energy

Germany vs. France

Nuclear energy and its validity in today’s world is a topic that stirs much debate and everyone seems to have an opinion on the issue, but who is correct? When considering Europe, France and Germany are on complete opposite ends of the nuclear spectrum. Germany believes the complete shutdown of nuclear derived power is necessary for a safe and prosperous country. France, on the other hand, opt for a pro nuclear stance. I intend to compare and contrast both countries views regarding nuclear energy and hopefully reach an effective conclusion.

Brief History-Then and Now

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, numerous atomic reactors are raised for producing power, utilizing diagrams amazingly like those made for the submarines. These outlines work well and produce economical, emanation free power with low mining and transportation impact. An atomic fueled future is envisioned by many people. In 1974, France chose to make an expansive push for atomic vitality, and wound up with 75 percent of their power from atomic reactors. The US fabricated 104 reactors, and obtained 20 percent of its power from them. In time, work deficiencies and development postponements began driving the expense of atomic reactors up, decelerating their development.

The 1979 Three Mile Island setback and the 1986 Chernobyl mishap further postponed the sending of atomic reactors. Choking regulations brought costs higher. 1986 testing demonstrate that advanced designs(other than the ones initially used to make submarines) might be extensively more secure.

In 94, the Megatons to Megawatts settlement with Russia is marked to down-mix atomic warheads into reactor fuel. Inevitably, 10% of US power originates from disassembled atomic weapons.

In the late 1990s and 2000s, the sensational well being record of the US reactor armada (0 casualties) and smooth operation of reactors consolidated with continuous stresses of worldwide environmental change because of carbon emanations realizes generous talk of an atomic renaissance, where new developments may begin once more. Then, solid enthusiasm toward Asia reinforces and yearning arrangements to fabricate vast armadas are made to fulfill developing vitality needs without including more fossil fuel.

On March, 2011, a vast seismic tremor and wave immerse the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi. Reinforcement diesel generators come up short and the fuel rods can’t be cooled. Fuel dissolves, hydrogen develops and explodes. Radiation is discharged, yet much of it goes out to the ocean rather than into populated zones. No individuals anticipated deaths from the radiation dosage.

Nuclear power is at the end of the day considered a popular option, despite the dismissal it was met with in the 1970s. This is on the grounds that its presently being touted as an environmentally advantageous solution since it transmits far less greenhouse gasses during power generation than coal or other conventional plants.

It is generally acknowledged as somewhat perilous, conceivably dangerous, yet reasonable way of creating power. Radiation isn’t easily managed, particularly in atomic waste and upkeep materials, and large capital are required to hold, control, and shield both individuals and nature from its mischief.

FRANCE

France’s decision to launch a large nuclear program dates back to 1973 and the events in the Middle East that they refer to as the oil shock. The quadrupling of the price of oil by OPEC nations was indeed a shock for France because at that time most of its electricity came from oil burning plants. France had and still has very few natural energy resources. It has no oil, no gas and her coal resources are very poor and virtually exhausted.

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France’s choice to dispatch an extensive atomic system goes once again to the 1970s and the events in the Middle East that they allude to as the “oil shock”. The quadrupling of the cost of oil by OPEC countries was undoubtedly a stun for France in light of the fact that around that time a large portion of its power hailed from oil burning factories. France had and still has very few assets. It has no oil, no gas and its coal assets are exceptionally poor and essentially depleted.

Policy makers saw one route for France to accomplish its energy independence: atomic energy, a wellspring of energy so effective that a couple of pounds of fissionable uranium is all the fuel required to run a huge city for a year. Arrangements were made to present the most exhaustive national atomic energy program ever. Throughout the following 15 years France introduced 56 atomic reactors, fulfilling its energy needs and actually sending out power to other European nations. As mentioned earlier, there were a few challenges in the early 70s, however from that point forward the atomic system has been famous and amazingly non disputable. A piece of their popularity comes from the way that researchers and scientists have a much higher status in France than in America.

A lot of high positioned civil servants and government authorities studied science and engineering (instead of lawyers, as in the United States).

French officials have worked to get individuals to learn the benefits of atomic energy and additionally the dangers. Lustrous TV campaigns fortify the connection between nuclear power and the power that makes advanced life conceivable. plant technicians request individuals take tours, an offer that six million French individuals have completed. Today, atomic energy is a commonplace thing in France.

Conversely….

The Fukushima disaster led many countries to rethink their view on nuclear energy. Germany plans to abandon it altogether, but French President Francois Hollande also wants to cut nuclear output sharply – by a third in 20 years. It’s a big ask in a country that now relies on nuclear for 75% of its electricity.

If fully implemented, the pledge would force the closure of up to 20 of the country’s 58 reactors according to Professor Laurence Tubiana a former government adviser who the president asked to facilitate a national debate, paving the way for what they call la transition energetique.

This would be a huge step, but Tubiana describes it as a “logical evolution”.

France realized that Japan had survived economically when all its atomic power stations were shut down because of its diverse energy mix. In Japan, before the disaster, nuclear power delivered about 30% of the country’s electricity, but France is hugely dependent not only on nuclear, but on a single generation of nuclear power stations.” -BBC News Magazine

Nuclear Power in France

  • France derives over 75% of its electricity from nuclear energy. This is due to a long-standing policy based on energy security.
  • France is the world’s largest net exporter of electricity due to its very low cost of generation, and gains over EUR 3 billion per year from this.
  • France has been very active in developing nuclear technology. Reactors and fuel products and services are a major export.
  • It is building its first Generation III reactor.
  • About 17% of France’s electricity is from recycled nuclear fuel.

Germany

Germany’s choice to kill the utilization of nuclear energy has been connected with the Fukushima disaster, to the point where it is frequently been viewed as sudden and hasty. Be that as it may, Germany has been debating the utilization of atomic energy for quite some time and its recent choice is just a step, but a huge one, on a long road. Subsequently, to completely comprehend the nation’s recent choice, it is important to grasp the historical backdrop of Germany’s atomic energy program and the powerful debate that existed inside the nation throughout the decades paving the way to this choice.

Germany’s nuclear program started in the late 1950s, and the first plants opened in the 1960s. What’s more just a couple of years after the opening of the first commercial atomic power plant, the opposition to atomic developments made its appearance through protests. The primary episode of note happened in the 1970s, when neighborhood gatherings figured out how to stem the development of a plant in Whyl through civil rebellion. There were numerous critics of the utilization of force by the local authority against the dissenters, bringing significantly more consideration regarding the problem at hand. The impending choice to drop the development of the plant served as a jump start for the formation of anti-atomic gatherings in Germany.

Then again, over the accompanying years not all developments were as fruitful. Germany’s biggest protest to nuclear energy, which occurred in 1981 united many demonstrators to protest against the development of a nuclear plant in Brokdorf. The plant was built and is still in operation. It is planned to stay in operation for a long time to come.

Around 1975 and 1987 there were a couple of small mishaps in the German plants. Some of these mishaps contaminated nearby areas, radiation discharge, open flames and harm to plants. Furthermore, while numerous individuals were, at that point, worried about the safety of atomic energy plants even before these mishaps, dread of nuclear energy was seriously increased by the Chernobyl plant explosion in 1986. The mishap had a substantial effect on Germany, defiling numerous zones with radiation, debilitating the populace’s prosperity and additionally the wellbeing of water and nourishment supplies. These impacts gave new strength to hostile anti-atomic groups in Germany and around the globe.

None the less, vast scale catastrophes(Chernobyl) were not Germany’s sole concern. Atomic waste had previously been a worry beginning in the 1950s. In 1977, a proposition had been made to utilize salt mines in the city of Gorleben as a hold for atomic waste, yet arguments broke out and the arrangement was surrendered. But, the area is as of now being utilized as interval stockpiling and there are continuous rally’s when waste is brought to the area.

Numerous people contended that the expense and the danger connected with waste were reason enough to not put resources into atomic energy in Germany, yet the nation still kept utilizing its atomic energy plants. By 2002, 19 atomic energy plants were in operation in Germany, while the nation stayed reliant on transitory waste stockpiling locales and dispatched atomic material to Britain and France. By 2005, Germany quit delivery abroad yet at the same time had only temporary stockpiling sites

With the opposition to atomic development exhibiting a solid resistance, Germany’s atomic energy system wavered for many years. Two reactors were erected in 1991, but failed to stay open squandering colossal amounts of cash. The thought of moving from atomic energy had been authoritatively exhibited in 1980 by a German Commission. The Green party, which contradicted the utilization of atomic energy from the onset, popped up around the same time and immediately picked up space inside German governmental issues. The gathering first won seats in the commission in 1983 and, in 1998, with the Schröder organization, it was advertised that Germany would move away from atomic energy and capital would be funneled towards renewable energy.

After the tragedy in Japan, Germany under the helm of Chancellor Merkel made an abrupt change in policy and implemented a complete phaseout away from nuclear energy in 2011 speeding up Schröder’s policy in 2000. But, while the German public can hardly be accused of panicking, Chancellor Merkel certainly did. Had she merely continued the previous nuclear phaseout and decided to maintain patience, the effects might not have been so detrimental.

Nuclear Power in Germany

  • Germany until March 2011 obtained one quarter of its electricity from nuclear energy, using 17 reactors. The figure is now about 18%.
  • A coalition government formed after the 1998 federal elections had the phasing out of nuclear energy as a feature of its policy. With a new government in 2009, the phase-out was canceled, but then reintroduced in 2011, with eight reactors shut down immediately.
  • The cost of attempting to replace nuclear power with renewables is estimated by the government to amount to some EUR 1 trillion without any assurance of a reliable outcome, and with increasing reliance on coal.
  • Public opinion in Germany remains ambivalent and at present does not support building new nuclear plants.
  • More than half of Germany’s electricity was generated from coal in the first half of 2013, compared with 43% in 2010.
  • Germany has some of the lowest wholesale electricity prices in Europe and some of the highest retail prices, due to its energy policies.

German nuclear power units

Plant

Type

MWe (net)

Commercial operation

Operator

Provisionally scheduled shut-down 2001

2010 agreed shut-down

March 2011 shutdown & May 2011 closure plan

Biblis A

PWR

1167

2/1975

RWE

2008

2016

shutdown

Neckarwestheim 1

PWR

785

12/1976

EnBW

2009

2017

shutdown

Brunsbüttel

BWR

771

2/1977

Vattenfall

2009

2018

shutdown

Biblis B

PWR

1240

1/1977

RWE

2011

2018

shutdown

Isar 1

BWR

878

3/1979

E.ON

2011

2019

shutdown

Unterweser

PWR

1345

9/1979

E.ON

2012

2020

shutdown

Phillipsburg 1

BWR

890

3/1980

EnBW

2012

2026

shutdown

Kruemmel

BWR

1260

3/1984

Vattenfall

2016

2030

shutdown

Total shut down (8)

 

8336

         

Grafenrheinfeld

PWR

1275

6/1982

E.ON

2014

2028

end 2015

Gundremmingen B

BWR

1284

4/1984

RWE

2016

2030

2017

Gundremmingen C

BWR

1288

1/1985

RWE

2016

2030

2021

Grohnde

PWR

1360

2/1985

E.ON

2017

2031

2021

Phillipsburg 2

PWR

1392

4/1985

EnBW

2018

2032

2019

Brokdorf

PWR

1370

12/1986

E.ON

2019

2033

2021

Isar 2

PWR

1400

4/1988

E.ON

2020

2034

2022

Emsland

PWR

1329

6/1988

RWE

2021

2035

2022

Neckarwestheim 2

PWR

1305

4/1989

EnBW

2022

2036

2022

Total operating (9)

 

12,003

         

Total (17)

 

20,339 MWe

         

Conclusion

“’Politics is the art of the possible,” said Bismarck, the first German Chancellor. His present-day successor, Angela Merkel, knows perfectly well that her decision to phase out all nuclear power stations by 2022 makes no scientific or economic sense. In fact, she said so herself as recently as two months ago, when she promised that Germany would not let itself be rushed into abandoning nuclear power by the Fukushima accident in Japan.”- the telegraph

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This quote says it all…..I believe Germany panicked into phasing out all nuclear energy by 2022. Too many German citizens protested against a nuclear future following the Fukushima explosion relying on emotions from the past and allowed it to cloud their judgment. Relying solely on renewable energy is a bad idea in my opinion. Studies have suggested that it will be extremely detrimental to the environment with the current technologies. France, on the other hand, is headed in the right direction but seems shortsighted and naive about the future. France, Germany and other countries should be looking at alternative nuclear reactors such as: the Integral Fast Reactor.

The Integral Fast Reactor is a plant that has been in the staging phase for a considerable length of time. In any case it has yet to be assembled, stating that it requires large amounts of capital. While it is expensive, this fourth era atomic plant would be far more secure than what we have now, and would be powered totally from the waste of current atomic plants. Fast Reactors would burn 99% of their fuel and create minimal harmful waste. Our current renewable energy plan is not viable considering it would require the further degradation of the atmosphere by way of coal burning to implement it. Also, it will cost much more to maintain than the Fast Reactors would.

Sources

Pandora’s Promise, 2013 documentary by: Robert Stone

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUdhHEtIsRw

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-25674581

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/country-profiles/countries-g-n/germany/

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-A-F/France/

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-16/germany-abandons-nuclear-power-and-lives-to-talk-about-it.html

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-11-14/2014-outlook-germanys-green-energy-switch

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/8546608/Why-Germany-said-no-to-nuclear-power.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13597303

http://video.ft.com/960910465001/Post-Fukushima-Germany-dumps-nuclear/World

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2006/04/nuclear-power/did-you-know-learn

 

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