Should Germany’s last three nuclear power plants run longer than until the end of 2022?
Our neighbor France has just shown that a country with nuclear power can already be independent of Russian gas. So no problems?
In France, 27 of 56 nuclear power plants are currently out of operation. This is another reason why electricity prices are rising throughout the EU. And France has to buy electricity from abroad to prevent a blackout – for example, solar and wind power from Germany. This will become even more dramatic in winter, because the French heat much more with electricity than we Germans do. In our neighbors, nuclear power is the main source of energy.
The heads of the three major French energy companies have now called on their compatriots to save energy. Originally, French nuclear power plants were supposed to run for 40 years, but every third nuclear power plant is already running longer. This means that many nuclear power plants already have age-related defects and safety problems and must therefore be taken off the grid. In addition, due to climate change, many rivers are too warm in summer or carry too little water to be able to cool the nuclear power plants.
President Macron blames the operators, saying, “If the maintenance had been done decently, we wouldn’t have these problems today.” By February 2023, the government says, all nuclear plants would be back in operation. But the operators say this is impossible.
The future belongs to renewables!
In 2021, the government had decided to let the nuclear power plants run for 50 years. This is now taking revenge with increasing safety problems. Previous French governments wanted to slowly reduce nuclear energy in France. But Macron has announced plans to build another 14 nuclear power plants by 2050, even though electricity from the sun and wind is now the cheapest source of energy in France, too.
A new-generation pressurized water reactor has been under construction in Flammville in Normandy since 2007. It was scheduled to go online in 2012. It is now scheduled for completion in 2023. The costs have more than tripled. No energy is as expensive today as nuclear power. Nuclear power plants are still a high-risk technology. We are experiencing this right now in Ukraine. Even France still has no way of disposing of nuclear waste safely.
Should the three remaining nuclear power plants in Germany really run longer than until the end of 2022?